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token excuses for block

because I don’t care anymore
because I want my life back
because it’s all a joke anyway
and my life is the punch line
because I’ve accomplished nothing
and no one cares
because I got a bit famous
and it scared me
because I got really close
to some shining transference
having to do with expression
and it scared me
because sometimes I want to
have a day off
hold down the couch
and scratch my ass
flipping through the channels
because someone told me I influenced them
because it all felt like so much propoganda
because after thirty years
it’s not enough
because I won’t be a whore
because I’m not going to write word one
unless it’s true and revelatory and ground breaking
because who am I fooling
because I’m a fraud
because who’s a real writer in the classical sense
because I hate you
and I hate the world
and I don’t want to share it again
because it’s selfish
because it’s too altruistic because I need it to stay together
but it’s pulling my life apart
because I’d rather play backgammon
and lie on my back counting clouds
because when I’m good and ready
i’ll go back again
and recant every single word of this.
tom waters

listening to Thelonius Monk

a cold autumn frost is coloring the windows
the red and dust colored leaves paint the lawn
in tiny deaths
jazz is a mystery of structure
and improvisation
i don’t know much about it
but I know what I like
notes falling in rapid succession
more leaves paint the lawn
and a cold autumn frost is coloring the windows.
i wish i could play the piano
sometimes instead of
hitting the keyboard in rapid succession
words hitting the page
in tiny deaths
Monk’s dead
long dead
but here he plays
on a music club cd
remastered for my enjoyment
-it’s all i have for jazz
in my collection.
jazz is like poetry
nobody cares about it
it’s everywhere
it’s free
it litters the landscape
like falling leaves
like tiny deaths
on another forgettable autumn night.
tom waters

the beacon

A problem’s answer for to glean
To acquire some clarity in my head,
I evoked the grand Muse Nicotine—
Tried sucking insight from a red.

But as I stood upon my deck,
In the cold and somewhat rainy night
A tree’s branch drip fell on the neck
Of my flame rod—and killed its light.

So I gazed into the murky sky
Until I found a single star
And called it with a forlorn sigh
To seek advice from flame afar.

Star light, star bright
Thou art alone as I tonight
Petition I thy steady light
For guidance on my sea of plight.

I felt the answer in my jaw;
And nearly gripped it with my mind
The lonesome, steady star I saw
Had reached for me—I felt its bind.

But alas, my beacon failed
It moved, and moving, wrenched my brain.
It was not I alone who sailed;
The star I wished on was a plane.
harold rain

How to get your poetry in Artvoice

Literary Buffalo occasionally features poetry by local writers. The poetry editor is Florine Melnyk. Submissions of no more than five poems and no more than 10 pages in length can be sent by e-mail to or by mail to Florine Melnyk, Poetry Editor, Artvoice, 810 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14202 Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope to have manuscripts returned.

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