Other Poems by:

Damion Hamilton

Dreaming and Riding

Not thinking of Algebra or Calculus 
I sit in a parked car with a can of beer 
Or a bottle of coke and whiskey 
And warily watch for tyrants in police cars 

And after awhile of drinking and thinking 
And drinking and sipping 
You breathe in and close your eyes 
And somehow dreams or the idea of poetry arrives 

Then I will scribble a line or two in a notebook 
And look around and come to a cessation 

Needing the magic of the train 
And I can't finish the poem 
With out riding the train 

So I get out of the train and stagger onto the platform 
And sometimes there will be a pretty girl on that platform 
And she will be nice to look at from a distance 

And sometimes she will be alone 
And I will think about working up 
The courage to say something to her 
And I while walking towards her 
I'll see the parabola lights 
Of the train 
And they'll get on that train, 
Usually going in the opposite direction 

But most of the time, someone is usually with them: 
Father, a boyfriend, a mother, a brother, 
A sister, or a friend 
And the guys will have square shoulders and a stiff walk, 
Sometimes they'll stare curiously at me 
Leaning against a support beam or a wall 
With half closed eyes 

Then the music of the train comes 
With it's screeching brakes 
And I'll get on that train. hoping it's not too crowded 
So that I can close my eyes or look 
Out of a window 

I've spent so much time looking out of windows 
And sometimes there will be a mob of teenagers- 
Sometimes they're collective voice 
Will sound gorgeous to me, sometimes greatly flawed 

As I lean back and dream the impossible dream 
As the train snakes and rattles 
And people will sit impassive or make noise 
And sometimes. sometimes there will be 
Someone interesting on board 
But usually there's no one interesting on board 
Just people seated in pairs speaking shallow 
And looking about at their fellow passengers 

And my head will be down, tilted to the left shoulder, 
Riding out a buzz 

Well not all the passengers are boring 
I once saw a kid upon boarding the train, a Bosnian guy, 
And he was seated on the train all by himself 
And he kept looking ahead in the distance with the saddest 
And most potent blue eyes I have ever seen 

I was seated three rows in front of him 
And the train was well-lit but it was dark on the outside 
So I would look in the passenger window, 
And I could see his reflection without him seeing me 

It seemed blasphemous to look at him directly 
I didn't want to disturb his musing, 
Plus I was a little afraid 
But whenever the train stopped, 
I would sneak a glance over my shoulder- 
Fascinated by those sad and immutable eyes 
The passengers boarding and departing 
Giving me an excuse to look- 
And I would look at the passengers and then look at him, 
Then back to the passengers, then straight-ahead, 
Then to a window watching his reflection 

Then my stop comes up and I get off of the train, 
And look back for one last time, because I may never 
See that kid again, and I hope some good days swing his way 
As I move towards the streets, and the people and 
The streets attack my softness 

A Stroll

This night I walk on currents of air 
The wind permeated by regret and sorrow 
But I must forget such things 
As you are to forget such things 
In order to remain "sane" 

Sometimes things are a little bit "pure" 
And I imagine that I am "pure" as I would imagine a child 
To be "pure" but I am gliding the streets with a vodka buzz 
Hoping to meet the girls with the movie star voices 

Thinking of the poem, in order to write the poem 
But I must forget the poem in order to write the poem 
But dreams are complicated like a street. any street 

I usually spend my evenings half drunk and writing in 
Notebooks in libraries seated in armchairs redolent 
Of homeless persons, and I must get the word down 
And then the line down, quite clever in it's evanescence 
And I hope that I didn't drink too much, so I won't pass 
Out while writing and Time sprints by like a train, and 
Before I know it the librarian is telling me that the library 
Closes in five minutes and I have only written a half a page 
So much for productivity, but I am inspired, so I think of 
Future evenings were I can drink and stroll and sit in 
Libraries half drunk, writing poems 

A Small Journey

I came out of the shower 
Almost clean and almost perfect 
And I stepped outside 
And was sullied by a litany of words 
From priests and pimps 
And my stomach was mostly half emptied 
And one needed shoes and a haircut 
And a job, but one kept on walking, 
Because the job probably wouldn't pay 
Me an allowance of Calm 
But the feet kept tapping the floorboard 
Of someone else's heart 
And my stride was baptized in the words 
Of Chekhov and Shakespeare 
And one thought about dead races, 
Dead languages and unknown masterpieces 
By dead unknown geniuses 
As the sunlight hit trees buildings and people 
No justice burning the flame 
As people walked in tank tops and minute ambition 
And all the hearts defecated their stuff 
From the inside 
Like the robbers of everywhere 

Some Guys

It's hard to imagine some 
Guys laughing (I mean really laughing) 

It's hard to imagine some drunk 
I mean really drunk 
With everything spinning 

It's hard to imagine some guys 
With a beard-thick and gross looking 

It's hard to imagine some reading 
Henry James or Dante 

It's hard to imagine some guys walking 
The streets of a city alone 

It's hard to imagine 
Some men not working, 
It's hard to imagine others with a job 

It's hard to imagine some happy 
It's hard to imagine others sad 

It's hard to imagine some men not 
Sitting at a computer 
It's hard to imagine others not driving trucks 

It's hard to imagine some guys with a girl, 
And it's hard to imagine some men 
With out their friends 

It's hard to imagine some men sitting down 
In a coffee shop 
It's hard to imagine others playing pool 

It's hard to imagine some guys 
Listening attentively to a lecture 

It's hard to imagine some men 
In a daze, 
It's hard to imagine some men 
Being not consumed by something 

It's hard to imagine some 
In bed with a woman 

It's hard to imagine others without 
Wearing old clothing 

It's hard to imagine some guys holding 
Guns and riding in tanks, 
It's hard to imagine others looking down 
At the pages of a book in a library 

It's hard to imagine some men 
Talking and yelling and playing cards 

It's hard to imagine some being 
Perfectly still and quiet 

The variety of men in the world 


Chaos and Speed

We go towards it 
And it moves towards us 
Chaos and speed 

We have it get to the place 
To the thing, with much speed 

It's on the roadways and sometimes 
Crash at 80mph 
We move towards a wall of blank faces 
Holding rifles 
So insane, so insane 

With speed we can forget 
Keep on working to forget 
Keep moving to forget 
Stay laughing to forget 
Stay occupied to forget 
Stay entertained to forget 

With chaos and speed 
We can dance to cloudy music 
Piano and drums 
Thump, thump, thump 
Speeding and crashing with no grace 
Towards smoke and fire 

Ignorance and the ephemeral canonized 
And wisdom and old things were fardels 

Chaos and speed meandering 
Under brief respiration 

Highway Report

On this road there are accidents all around 
On the road there is nothing but screaming 
Piercing like an alarm 
On this road there is a layer of ice over 
The pavement 
On this road fear has a fragrance 
On this road chaos spawns more chaos 
There are too many travelers on this road 
On this road music is like winter 
On this road action is wasted 
On this road there are no songs 
On this road the commute takes longer 
Than it should 
The radios can't awaken the passengers 
On this road 
In the score is always tied on this road 
Beauty is there but it can't be seen on this road 
The sun does not shine, but is afraid 
Of glory, on this road 


I met an old friend, 
Who I have not seen in years 
And I barely recognized him 
And he was barely able to recognize me 
I haven't seen him in years 
And he's laughing and smiling- 
In a proud powerful way 
He's doing well now, making a lot 
Of money in real estate, down in New Mexico 
And he looks like the model for success 
His clothes are urban, nice and expensive 
The hair and the scalp and beard are trimmed 
Very neatly, and his smile is very luminous 
And I'm happy for him; even though a couple 
Of months ago, I would have not been happy 
For him, because I'm not doing so well: 
With the old clothes, old car, an old warehouse job 
I would have been very jealous of him, and what 
He has; but strangely I am not jealous of him 
I am very happy for him, as I stare at his 
Mercedes Benz through the window 
I smile at him, in the light of the day, 
Just a few years ago, he was down and out of it 
With a bad job and a drug problem and he didn't 
Have his smile and the clothes and the car 
He has this day 
I look at him: and can only smile 

Note: To My Creditors

I wish that they could feel 
What I feel 
Just for a few moments 
And know that when I get 
Off from work 
How I feel, is how I feel 
As I walk around engulfed 
By a fog of vertigo 

I feel murdered mostly 
And mostly eaten away 

And surviving this day 
Is the main thing 
The only thing 

And making it home in an old car 
Before it collapses 
Before I collapse 

Is a great victory 
For the day 
For me 

And most of the time, I don't feel 
Like getting that money for you 

That I just want to collapse in my bed 
With out eating supper 
Without taking a shower 

Because they murdered me down at 
The job today 

And I don't think that I can crawl 
Back to my car and go to the store 
To get that money order to send 
To, before I am late with a payment 

But you know what the people say 
There is always tomorrow 
And hopefully tomorrow I feel 
Less like a cadaver 
And more like a responsible citizen 

Hopefully I will 

To: The girl that I Disappointed

I'm sorry 
But I should have jumped out of 
The limousine or sports car, 
Wearing a gaudy white suit 
But instead I hopped out of 
A twelve year old Pontiac 
With plastic covering the passenger window, 
And one of the headlights had been knocked out 
And the car was very dirty on the inside and out 
But I am a writer you know 
Even though I do not have a book out 
And I thought that this might mean something to you 
Well, Gerry Locklin told me that I wrote well already 
And you probably don't know who Gerry Locklin is 
But he's a legend in the small press and 
Published many books, which are well written 
Unlike, the local slam poets you might be familiar with 
Plus he was friends with, and a protégé of Charles Bukowski 
And you probably don't know who that is either 
And that's a small tragedy of print, screens and schools 
To me, and a lot of others that's like saying 
You never heard the name Shakespeare 

As you were waiting on the bus stop 
I should have came out of the limo to the 
Sound of trumpets and stuck out my hand and 
Took you away with me; but I disappoint myself 
And I do this a lot- 
It's no big deal 
I'm just sorry that I disappointed 

Cars Cars Cars

I drive the Henry Ford streets 
And most people probably don't 
Think about Henry when they 
Get behind the wheel 

Then I think about the workers 
In Detroit, their hands 
Brains, and legs moving through the 

Taylor method 

And Henry became a rich rich man 
With his invention 

Now I think of Henry Ford when 
I hear the boys and girls come down 
The streets with their music so loud 

I watch the boys wash and wipe 
Their cars down in the 
Car washes, while dreaming 
Of pussy and the weekend 

Then I think about the boys 
Fighting over seas for the 
Fuel to put in these 

Put this to harmony: 
Jobs wars cars profits 
Pussy, car washes and the weekend 

Making men like Henry Ford rich

Bohemian Portrait

Cold and solitary 
Walking the streets 
The young guys and girls 
Are pretty and handsome 
In a clerical and sexless 
Sort of way 
Walking on Delmar Boulevard 
Even though 
None of the girls remind of 
Angelina Jolie 
I still watch wistfully 

Nothing better than 
To grab a companion 
And go 
For a stroll 
To feel 
A little less 
I imagine 

All those people 
Outside of restaurants and bars 
Smiling and giggling 
In company of 
Two's, three's and four's 
And watching those we do not know 

I guess it's like high school 
In a way 
Everyone watching those we do not know 
In the other groups 
Because one catch embrace 
Just someone 
As Nietzche says 

As the SUV's 
Police cars 

And fire trucks 
Rumble through the night 

Myself wanting something 
Greater than company 
Which is perhaps in the sky 
Perhaps in the blood 
But it's not in desire 
As my vodka buzz wears off 

On a train, 
Meeting someone 
I haven't seen in months 
Looking beat and very bohemian 
He's on a train 
Drawing against a hard night 

He asks me am I still in school 
And I tell him no 
Because I wanted to be 
A great writer, and school 
Was getting in the way of this 

He looks at me 
With a disappointed face 
And I stare at his drawings 
And they are quite good 
Even though all his models 
Are pop stars like: 
Pamela Anderson, Tom Cruise 
And Britney Spears 
And I encourage him to keep drawing 
As I smile and giggle 
At the celebrities 

Next stop UMSL North Station, 
And that's my stop, I wish him 
Luck on being an artist 
And tell him to 
"Stay up" 

As he wishes me the same 
And I stroll to my old car 
Ending the poem 
And ending the night 

Girl in A Coffee Shop

She steps through the door 
With a great cinematic prescience 
Svelte body 
Face like a doll 
Eyes guileless, yet seductive at the same time 

I could lose myself in the lattice of 
Such a woman and I feel guilty, latter 
For admiring beauty so much 
Suckered once again by eyes and the shape of a face 

I've never met a movie star before 
And yet she's the only person I've ever met 
In which it seems, like cameras should be 
Following her 

She studies psychology at a local university, 
Like so many curious and ambitious college girls, 
I haven't seen her in months and I am happy 
To see her; as we talk about: work, my writing 
And Jung-who was a very interesting man and I 
Nearly lose myself in the greenish glare of her eyes 

But she has to get back to work shortly and 
I exit the shop-still thinking of her eyes 
And cinematic prescience 
As I began walking up the boulevard 
I stop and look back at her one more time 
Like an ending to a very sad, yet 
Very great movie 

I hear that she's been troubled lately, 
As my blood turns cold, 
It's probably something pertaining to a man 
I walk on, hoping she feels better, soon 

The Wrestler Kid

When I was in my teens 
I wanted to be a professional wrestler 

I trained: lifted weights, 
Did sit-ups and push-ups and jumping jacks 
And lifted weights 

Those guys seemed really to be having 
A good time with all that yelling and jumping 
And punching and slamming around 

They had nice bodies and got paid for doing 
All of that too 

They were huge and muscular yet seemed 
To be overgrown children to me 

None of the adults around with adult jobs 
Seemed like that to me 

And that frightened me 
I didn't want to be like that 
And grown up 
I wanted to be like the wrestlers 

But being nearsighted and being 
Not big enough held me back 

Now I watch the kid who is about the same 
Age as me, and is from the same city 
Making it as a professional wrestler 

He's young 
Very good looking 
And athletic 
And charismatic 
And very good also 

He has women, the cars, and the homes 
And the job I wanted 
And he's worthy of these things for he is 
Very good 

He's living my gold and olden dream 

It's his time 
As the world and I watch 

Some Laughter

Thinking of the fun times 
And the fun times have been 
So few and not nearly enough 
And it wears on one after awhile 

All the time spent in books or working- 
Doing something useful 
Or visiting someone you didn't want to see 
Or watching something you really 
Did not want to see 
But one watched it or visited anyway 

Always waiting 
And it wears me down this day and this night 

Always waiting for the bus, or a train 
Always waiting for the game to begin and end 
Always waiting for something interesting to happen 
Waiting for someone to say something interesting 
Waiting and waiting for hours and days 
And nothing happened and nothing happened 
As we go on and wait some more for this thing 
I am bored as I write this 
Great rivers go boredom flow through me 
As I dance with my yearning 
And it's not your yearning but my yearning 
What is it that you yearn for? 

I hope it's not sex 
And sex is fine 
But is that all you yearn for? 
I was hoping it would be for something else 
It's easy to yearn for that and very prosaic 
And I'm around guys who yearn for it all day 
And that's nothing special just. 

I want that too 
But I also want pleasurable oceans to rise 
Within me 

Oceans of what?  You may ask 
And I don't know; but it can start 
With someone saying something interesting 
Something that approaches a sense of Truth 
You see all this day people lied to me 
And pages of my personal history are filled with lies 
It's like asking someone how they're doing? 
And they say that they are fine or okay 
But you know that is not true 
Because their face and their voice are morose 

And I lie myself; I always say that I am fine 
While walking around with a gnarled stomach and mind 
But I'm not very interesting for lying 
Just clever and dead 
And so many are clever and dead 
And that's not very interesting 
That's just a majority 
And roaches out number human beings 
But does it make them interesting? 

But doesn't matter now 
Well what matters now? 
Just the moment for me 
And what I am thinking about this moment 
Which may be different than what you are thinking 
Well I'm thinking about the faces that lied 
And the voices that came from those faces that lied 
And I remember the cars that passed by 
Those faces that lied and drove in a way 
Which made the car lie 
And they drove somewhere, which was a lie 
And all day long I'll think about government 
Churches and Love which lied and the 
Propaganda: the words for the people 
By the people 

And I'll wait like a man sentenced to 
The electric chair 
Unable to even dream of the crime 
He was convicted of

The Joke Is On Me

I have refused to accept my life, 
So the joke is on me 
The boys in the warehouse know it 
The drink beer after work and watch 
The football games; they are 
Not expecting much, nor aiming high 
And the boys know this 
The joke is upon me 
I want too much out of life 
And I am not happy 
The boys don't expect too much 
And they are wise 
The boys accept what is in front of them 
From prison to prison 
They accept and accept 
And I am just a fool who has read 
Too many books 
Oh, that is not the way 
The boys say while shaking 
Their heads incredulously 
At me and my foolish ambition 
What does he what? 
Why can't he accept this? 
Is he mad? 
Yes, the joke is upon me 
Firemen know this 
A stock boy knows this 
The UPS guy knows this 
So do nurses and trucks drivers 
The joke is upon me, 
Reading these books and writing 
This madness 
This badness 
The joke is upon me 

Working It

Driving away from the job 
Dazed, thinking of nothing, trying to stay awake 
Then noticing a young woman, around seventeen or eighteen 
Walking home from high school, probably 
Her shiny cinnamon legs and very short shorts-- 
She's dressed no differently than ten other 
Young women, one might see on the street, 
And the only reason I notice her is because she is 
Working it-Walking very hard and fast, ass swaying, 
She's trying to be pop star, like she's seen on 
Television, she looks like Beyonce, she's trying 
To be Beyonce 
As men honk their horns at her and yell, both young 
And old; she smiles from their salutations 
And tries to turn her face away, from the faces passing 
Her in cars, but she keeps looking back at the 
Men and some of the women, who are watching her: 
She's young, sexy, attractive and knows it, 
As her cinnamon legs move along the rush hour 
Traffic; there's nothing else interesting about the busy commute, 
It's been done hundreds of times before, for me 
As most of the eyes, are on her this evening


Strange night 
And there are so many strange nights 
Walking the streets 
And sometimes it's like sailing 
Only there's concrete beneath my feet 
Not blue water 

And it's Friday night 
So mostly everyone is trying to find 
Somewhere to go 
Someplace to be 
This night 

Coffee shops 
Poetry readings 
Dance clubs 
Somewhere with someone 

And I'm not somewhere but out 
In the open air street with on one 
Except those at a distance 

I'll walk past a bar or a coffee shop 
And look inside 
And can't imagine myself at a stool 
Drinking coffee or beer with someone in my ear 
The walls of anyplace constrict me 
So I walk in the open air street 

I watch people walk by 
With destinations in there faces and strides 
As I walk in awe 
And journey somewhere 
Through the night 
Like Celine


One never seems to leave high school 
The classrooms and those hallways 
All those insults 
And learning that the world is really crazy 

And I am reminded of this, while looking through 
The books at and independent bookstore 

The owners and I talk about Chekhov, Aldous Huxley, 
Arthur Miller and Guy de Maupassant 

Then I'm off to the counterculture section, 
To thumb through some Henry Miller and Charles Bukowski, 
And a young punk rock couple comes over to the section next me 
And began looking at some of the books, and looking over my shoulder 
And I feel like I should say something like, "these are two of the best 
Writers this country has produced, and when you feel your worst, 
It is good to read these guys." 

But I don't say anything, I just continue to thumb through the 
The Miller book; and this reminded me of high school, this fear 
I really wanted to say something to the young couple, and most likely 
They would have been cool, but I had been through so much shit 
That day, down at the job, and quite frankly I didn't want any more 
Of it 

The shit of the hours 
The shit of the day 
The shit of a lifetime 

And one never really leaves high school, as I should have said 
Something to them and feared being ignored or insulted, 
And I didn't need really need the voluntary shit 
I get plenty of the involuntary shit 

The girl smiled at me, and I smiled back, while continuing to thumb 
Through the Miller book; and they leave shortly thereafter without 
Purchasing a book, and I left after them, without buying a book, 

Into the guilt of the night, 
Not knowing if I should have spoken, 
The phantom of high school, behind me 

Lover Boy

Sitting in a parked car 
Watching a pretty healthy girl 
Move like a dream filled with flowers 
As one guts bloat with desire 

As she passes on and on 
As all the pretty, healthy girls pass 
On and on 
One wants to approach and say something to her 
But the throat, the voice and the lips are mute 

But what is she, but an abstraction in the cellar of the mind 

One should approach her making promises and declarations 
And there are movies theatres, restaurants 
And night clubs to go to 
Along with cheap hotels to go to enjoy 
The universal song, flesh to flesh 

And one doesn't have money, or patience or Time 
To enjoy these simple things, as desire recedes 

As one can prophesy the misfortune of a partnership 
In days of poverty 

I sit in a room alone, simmering with memories and destitution 
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