Laundromats & Lounges


there’s a lounge in queens village called the pour house,

you’d be wise not to ask for a shot of prosperity.


i ordered a glass of hope,

topped off with bitter dreams

shot down by crooked cops

and sirens sang

from their stools.


put a quarter in the jukebox,

if u dare


the nine to five men

struggling to pay their bills,

the everyday house wife needing a sip of something

just to deal with her kids,

the middle class; classless,

suffering from summer’s dry, thick, humidity,

bank accounts like mouths



the bartender’s eyes are no more filled

with poverty than a newborn

her smile whispered

brightness that this merely part-time,

night-time oblivion

though day time academics couldn’t have taught her anointed head

and hands

to tap

dance beer mugs overflowing,

surely goodness and mercy

shall follow her, all the days

she communicates with consumers

of her art and craft,

she speaks eloquently

even through vodka induced, liver weakened

stress fractured ear drums.


in the air lingers the smell of fish-

net stockings chased with torn,

worn out latex mixed

in a familiar stench.


tomorrow’s sorrow

holds hands with the infantile reality of today,

and springboards

into snifter

with aspirations of drowning in cognac.


the bar itself,

is a bloodstained, vomit infused cherrywood

with tips

plastered all over it.

dimesacks, nickelbags, copperheads

and tales of how not to end up here

in the back,

where pre-Magellan’s flat

Earth lies;

with sticks, balls, holes;


for uneducated balls to roll into,

moors to fall into,

into an abyss which hovers over

ground so close to home,

the familiarity

crowds the entrance;


blocks away

the exact same people


a Laundromat,

carrying wet clothes, loads,


and pockets quarter filled with

quarters, quarter

filled with lint

half empty but fully conscious

of clean, dirty and indifferent



like the fabric

are survivors of the tsunami



pour experiences into

wash, rinse and spin cycles

to increase the resistance of letting tears or sweat fade

origin of character



cover frail feelings with rigid skin snuggled with fabric,


and this juxtapose is

just supposed to be ignored

but its Wednesday,

drying clothes or buying a metrocard is a

decision left to ponder

two days before payday;


next round on me.


Roger Smith © 2013



Friday Nights DVR


Sssssssscccccccuuuuurrrrrrrr... BOOM!


10 minutes before the sweet sound of impact, I was,

both fists,

holding brain cells under brown paper bag. Water, affixiating thoughts of cancer no, thoughts of love...

Well drowning the equivocation of both.

Heart metastasizing while emotional data spreads all about anatomical structure.

Fallacy's lover, touches her hand, touches her, like only a stranger would.

She couldn't like it! But tonight, on the right side of my brain, she smiled,

meanwhile lymphocytes dodge radiations charger, and the Hemi tells me, turn the ignition.


5 minutes before the serenity of the after life, breezed pass my windshield,

eyelids Kiel over, from overdosing off optical vodka consumption.

My aorta's combustion,

pushes blood from chambers crushed, by alcohol's false testimony that she'd, rather spend time away from the poet

who writes in chemo ink; who bleeds words absent of white blood cells; who thinks that pages make him walk on water like a God-- but I limp.

From lymph nodes mutating, rather, barely


cuz beer, turns brainwaves grizzly,

morphs heartbeat polar,

and as consciousness hibernates,

my limbs shake.

For a second, cerebellum is unsubmerged from the jealous rage of Hennessy's radiation, and impact

further acts, as sobriety's alarm.

There is no snooze button on a tree in Queens,

no time like the present, to ignore her body, his wishes, or how thoughts of the two become one like PB&J in my minds cell,

or how cells within, imprison me, cutting-- the edges off my life.

The knife inside holds no fingerprints different than

paper mate which scripts lyrics of liquor, 

bottle empty of toxins consumed 

serving as swimming pool for all which weighs on cerebrum, 

to cannonball with four wheels thru a pole, into nothing,

but a failed suicide attempt.


Roger Smith © 2013


the Inner Beast 


what comes to your mind when you think of black?

do you think

of chains,


and enraged slaves

battling for the rights

birthed to them,

fighting for freedom their ancestors

before yours earned for them.

does your mind ponder

notions of moses

being black...

do you think of pioneers,

or apes,

a system twisting us into their visions

of monkeys running

through the wildlife of Afrika,

banshees calling us brothers,

us in rectangular cages

with arangatang faces.

is that depicted 

in the unwritten diaspora of blacks...

do you witness greasy hands

banging drums,

beating ghetto noises

at decibals too loud for european cars,

and can you hear those

loud, cuss words

disturbing neighbors,

next to your neighborhood,

from hoodlums

with tropical fruit stained lips.

is that what you feel

when you close your eyes

and think of black,

or are your eyes closed everyday.


Roger Smith © 2002