Friday, July 11, 2014


            Y’all know I’ve been writing forever. And when I say write, I’m talking about writing all the time. Reading too. I don’t know if it was the combination of my future anti-social behavior or the fact my mother read to me every night before I went to bed. She told me I started reading at such a young age that in class the teacher thought I was mocking her when she read sentences off the chalkboard because I was mouthing the words along with her.
            Already starting shit at a young age—totally by accident.
I grew older and I found myself in the 90’s, and we all know what happened then. It was Clinton, Nirvana, Y2K was coming, Tupac and Biggie were murdered, the World Wide Web just got going, the L.A. Riots just got burning, and I got my first beeper. And, sadly and shamefully, I started writing the oldest recorded form of human writing (other than Hammurabi tax records) we like to call: poetry.
            I was in the thick of it, being employed at the now long defunct Midnite Espresso in Huntington Beach, California. This was before Starbucks, people. Midnite Espresso was every 90’s cliché you could think about. Brooding goths, surfer dudes, crusty punks doing speed in the bathroom, all sat next to eager Cal State grad students and hippy kids named Amethyst. The ‘café boom’ of the 90’s was on. (I just found a link of a write up about this place from 1994. That is crazy it even still exists...HERE)
            And there I was, 15 years old, fresh as a daisy, working behind the counter—serving humans (like I would do to this day). I would watch the bohemians saunter about, so cool and withdrawn, and wanted so desperately to be part of their ilk. There was one of them named Tommy D. He had these hand woven books of his own self-published poetry for sale at the counter. I sneaked a copy out one day and read all of the poems with fervor. They were so daring. They talked about sex and drugs. He was never without a pretty girl (he was a photographer as well, so I guess that helps).
            Another regular was this beautiful lady named Star who, god knows why, started hanging out with me at the café. She was a dishwater blonde, curvy, always sarcastic, and an amazing kisser. She could kiss. She was the one who made me the kiss freak I am today. Not sloppily, not too publically, just a master class kisser she was. She was also 21 years old. I was 15. She was 21. She smoked me out constantly with her shitty weed, bought my friends and I beer, and taught me what a real blowjob was in the passenger seat of her car.
            The times were a mess. Each and every night there was some jazz or blues playing. I just kept myself to myself and slang the lattes galore. But in the private times at night, I would write poetry. I knew it was stupid. There was an open mike night I would attend and hide in the shadows. The poets were so into it. Do you know what I mean?
            Remember all that weird slam shit that people started doing in ’92? I mean, there’s hip-hop, there’s even hip-hop slams, but watching certain people do it was just laughable. It reeked of the most self-aggrandizing, under nourish attention needing, ego tripping thing you could do. I told myself, just because I write poetry, doesn’t mean I have to be like these guys.
            But I did it. I read out loud. And it was fucking disgusting.
            That was the 90’s, man. That’s happened. Poetry, finally, had the last rusty nail pounded into its coffin.
            What were these people talking about? Raising their voices like preachers. Singing lines?
            Poetry is one thing, and one thing only. It’s taking a large idea and saying it in the fewest amount of words—hopefully lyrically. The scene at Midnite Espresso open mics resembled monkeys at the zoo throwing shit through the bars.
            Time went on, and I moved on in the writing. The short stories. The plays. The novels. The films. The TV show pitches. I suddenly, and quite by accident, found myself in Boston somewhere in the middle 00’s. It certainly wasn’t California, but it wasn’t any picnic either. I was not well liked in that town because I suffered from 3 of Boston’s most sure to be ostracized cardinal sins:
            I didn’t give a fuck about sports.
            I didn’t go to any of their colleges.
            I was broke.
As you can imagine, a lot of my nightlife was up for grabs.
In some drunken stupid idea, I started writing poetry again. But this time, I decided to be honest. I wasn’t going to be one of those strange minstrels, desperately hoping people would understand them through their verses. 
I set out on a mission.
I, each and every night, would write 10 poems about things I thought I knew with some kind of authority. Nothing fancy, just what I thought I knew for certain. Like drinking a glass of water. Or being cut off from a bar. Strangely enough, I ended writing hundreds and hundreds of poems. Poems about drinking beer in the morning, and that feeling on your lips. Poems about taking a shit. Poems about losing a girlfriend to another man. Poems about the odd silence of water.
I tried to do what poetry was supposed to do.
Take a big idea and say it in the most simple way, like a Buddhistic Koan. I spent the next several years, on and off, doing just that, going out to bars alone, sitting in corners, sipping whiskey, watching everybody.
I took the hundreds and hundreds of poems and put them in a drawer. Over the years, I took a fresh look at them, one by one. Some I burned, some I saved on a hard drive. But there were some that were all right.
This is why this blog is titled “Shameless Self-Promotion”. The time had come, and I opened up the vaults. Saw those little sons a bitches staring right back at me. I decided, fuck it. 
I picked the best 50 or so and cleaned them up, my mother’s voice, loud in the back of my head: “You have written some much over the years but you don’t put them out to the world.”
“They got wrote, Mom. That’s all that matters,” I’d say, not wanting to talk about it.
“Well, that’s your problem right there. Why the hell would you write things that no one will read?”
It took ten years for her point to get across my thick skull.
I took the best ones, the simple ones, the truthful ones, and put it out myself. The first and only poetry book I will ever write. I call it:
The title refers to a certain type of person; the drinkers, the frenzied, the quiet sufferers, those that never want, once the nighttime begins, for the daylight to ever come.
If you were to run across this book at a bar depressed, it would cheer you up.
Those days you want to put a loader revolver in your mouth, I can promise you will think twice after a quick dose of some of these little ditties.  
And that’s more than I can say for Shakespeare.  

So here we are, Bartender Knows readers, the fucking plug. 
Go buy “Rivals Of Morning” for your home. 
I stand by it. 
And Amazon will deliver it.  

Go here to this obnoxiously long link to purchase what The Bartender Knows:

            BTW— Yes, the podcast is coming. And it’s awesome.






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