An Open Letter to the Wait Staff at Open Mics.

Dear Service Industry Personnel or Bar Mistress or Bartender
whichever you prefer
I would like to apologize
on behalf of the poets
attending “your” sets

though spending most of my time searching for god
trying to remain sane enough
not to swan dive into the cement ocean

your plight
has been brought to my attention
suffering & I have never been one to
ignore the impecunious
(poor, just trust me, that is what it means)

though most days
I am seconds away from a chainsaw mass shooting
organizing a group interested in firebombing city hall
or scratching enough blood from my flesh to feed my family
(as we all are)
I am not calloused enough
to not
the desperation of your situation

Please Poets
Lovers of Poetry
and Open Mic attendants
for whatever reason you
saunter into
these dimly lit roomsBartender
to hear words
from the mouth
of our foolish hearts


though their lack of purchases
has no reflection
on your watered down drinks
and over priced cocktails

Art ought make people thirsty
all I can express is shame
that I have not guided more people
into deeper liver disease and alcoholism sooner
(lord knows I love both so much)

What could have I been thinking?
with half of the brothers
unemployed in my city,
human trafficking
turning our daughters into online commodities
morality exchanged for capitalism
and all this time I never once mentioned your drink special…

What is it again?

God forbid
not every patron
leave here in a drunken stupor
Poets making money hand over fist
and it is time we share the wealth

the 9 year old mowed down like a dog
on the streets of our city
Lake Michigan as dirty as interstate rest stop toilet
the death of the black family
can all take a back seat
while the poets make sure everyone
buys a drink
we truly thank you for letting us use your space
Doing this at home is an option
but clearly we are starved enough
for attention and fame
selling a few drinks
shouldn’t be a hassle.

with my deepest condolences

Mario the Poet…


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