The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Bartending School

Don’t it just sometimes

feel like that freaken

carrier pigeon you

sent out just took

off & hit the road

& took a detour

& doesn’t give

a flying fuck

& decided to

just stop off 

in some stray 

city somewhere

down the road 

with a locket

of your half

haunted heart

& pot luck soul 

& got drunk 

off beer 

& bread


in one of those

alcoholic bars

right off of

hell’s kitchen 

& herald square 

where i swear 

they have a shoot- 

out or someone 

gets stabbed 

once a week 

like over some

truth or dare

or silly shit

& always 


for new witnesses

new bartenders

new drunks & winos

new class of customer

flying bleary-eyed 

& disoriented 


way up there

high up there 

without a care 

not caring

about your


& you’re just 

left stranded 

as always 

with that

eternal feeling 

of what it feels 

to feel forgotten 

& abandoned

& woebegone

& taken for granted 

silhouetted at some 

window just waiting 

on one simple word 

one simple answer 

one simple word

answer to get 

you out of 

your prison

not even 

a postcard 

a prayer


i swear for

the bums

& spirits

who didn’t

make it... 


T Stands For Theresa

Being mostly a bunch of jews

we all fell in love with theresa 

rodriguez in junior high school 

this cuban knockout and bombshell

and every time christmas or valentine`s 

day rolled along we all got her either 

in silver or copper or gold the letter t 

on a necklace to wear swear she must 

have had like over a half dozen letter t’s 

guess one for practically every occasion 

as if any junior high school girl should 

need a necklace with the letter t for 

every occasion and we would always 

check closely to see if maybe just maybe 

it was ours like she was sending us some 

secret signal and all the jewish girls would 

try to take after her too and she showed 

them how to do yoga in the girl’s bathroom 

and they would all like during lunch squat lotus style 

like some sort of cult in the middle of the bathroom 

and now that i stop to think about it all does sound like 

some beautiful mantra theresa rodriguez theresa rodriguez 

theresa rodriguez while her brother carlos though we thought 

was a bit crazy and always could never stay out of trouble 

and guess didn’t quite gain as much the diva status while

you’d always hear he’d suddenly get arrested for things 

like drinking or getting into some brawl during halloween 

and he was pretty good looking too and maybe in retrospect 

just subconsciously felt a little envious and acted-out 

while we all dreamed and fantasized about his sister 

theresa that 5th grade cuban bombshell knockout

from what i heard think she might have become

something of a chemical engineer or doctor

interesting i ended up marrying the ivory girl 

a nice jewish girl from the bronx and wonder 

if that’s like coming around full circle or semi-circle 

or around the corner from the hypotoneuse of a triangle 

sighing through my dark humid house at night like felix unger.


Joseph Reich has been published in a wide variety of eclectic literary journals both here and abroad, been nominated four times for the Pushcart Prize, and his most recent books include, "A Different  Sort Of Distance" (Skive Magazine Press) "If I Told You To Jump Off The Brooklyn Bridge" (Flutter Press) "Pain Diary: Working Methadone & The Life & Times Of The Man Sawed In Half" (Brick Road Poetry Press) "Drugstore Sushi" (Thunderclap Press)  "The Derivation Of Cowboys & Indians" (Fomite Press) "The Housing Market: a comfortable place to jump off the end of the world" (Fomite Press) "The Hole That Runs Through Utopia" (Fomite Press)