Frank Messina


Photo: Brian Walter






Fortune Cookie

The fortune cookie reads,
“Take a vacation, you will have unexpected gains.”

It’s a good fortune,
an excuse for me to fly from
Nowhere to Somewhere,
meet the girl of my dreams,

elope and have lots of children,

lots of little children
running wild under the sun

How many children
still tap at my window at night
crying out, “Daddy, Daddy
go out and meet the girl of your dreams!
I want to walk with you
under the stars
and watch movies at night,
cook me pancakes Daddy
and take me to the museum,

I want to vomit on your shoes!

I want to grow up and make you proud
and dream like you taught me to dream
I want to make the world a better place
I want to watch you and Mommy get old,
then lock you both up in a convalescent home
to eat cold mashed potatoes
while I eat steak and drink your fine wine
and tell the world what a lousy Dad you were,
I want to drive your car across the country

and meet the girl of my dreams

then go to the finest Chinese Restaurant
to eat fortune cookies,
letting the pieces fall to the floor
like the dreams of me you once had.”


Note: “Fortune Cookie” previously appeared in
Disorderly Conduct by Frank Messina (Published in Heaven Books, 2002)







Disorderly Conduct
To the people of the world

You’re all under arrest
for giving in to your oppressors
anything you don’t do or won’t say
can and will be used against you

You are hereby charged with
Complacency in the First Degree
Possession of Ambivalence
and failure to obey a distress signal
from your fellow citizens

You have the right to remain « violent »
shouting down the Big Machine
with words of rage till daybreak
instead, you crouch down in silence
drinking, smoking, choking
while your own family stands on trial





You have the right to bear arms up
against the cold, steel face of injustice,
break down barbed walls of dogma,
You have the right to burn the burqa,
the straitjacket, the suffocating drapery
smothering your daughters’ dreams

You have the right to make a left turn,
you have the right not to be straight
you have the right to do the right thing
but you’re all guilty, guilty of everything!

You have the right to
“not go gentle into that goodnight”
you have the right to fight,
to break open the pale face of Hatred
and shut it down once and for all

All human race

You have the right to
steal the keys to Freedom’s door
dangling from Tyranny’s drooling jaw
you have the right to infiltrate, to violate
to launch a coup d’état

You have the right to break-in and enter
instead, you break down and bolt
abandoning naked children
lying, dying, crying
beside crooked gates of hell

You have the right to overthrow the king
whose castle’s walls your own hands built
you’re all guilty, guilty of everything!

Guilty of lethargy
guilty of medicating your life away
from harsh truths that daylight brings
guilty of talking the talk
but not walking the walk

guilty of not working for peace
guilty of not working for peace
guilty of not working for peace

Get against the wall!

You’ve been condemned
and convicted by the people
for your crimes against them

Look up at the sun
through blindfolded eyes
until it hurts you to see
Remember those you betray
and remember, you’re guilty
guilty of everything!


copyright 2001, Frank Messina

*Note: “Disorderly Conduct” previously appeared
in Disorderly Conduct by Frank Messina (Published in Heaven Books, 2002).
The refrain, « guilty of everything », pays homage to
Herbert Huncke’s biography, « Guilty of Everything ».






Poet Frank Messina Heckled by Crazy Woman during 9/11 Poem








Frank Messina is a poet, actor and artist. He is the author of four books of poetry including Full Count: The Book of Mets Poetry, andDisorderly Conduct.

His work appears in The Beloit Poetry Journal, The New York Times, Ground Zero: New Yorkers Respond, the 9/11 Peace Poetry Project, Published in Heaven Poster Series, Oxalis, Footwork: The Paterson Literary Review, Newark Writer’s Journal, Idiom, andPromethean Press.

He has been featured on National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Network. His 9/11-related poems, including Bicycle, have gained international attention and are included in the curriculum at several educational institutions including the University of London. His original notebook of handwritten 9/11 poems are part of the permanent collection of the September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center in New York City.





His baseball poems have been featured on the Jimmy Kimmel Live and SNY-TV’s Mets Weekly, where Messina’s Mets-related verse is set to the visual backdrop of glorious (and not so glorious) moments in Mets history. As a result, sports fans around the world refer to Messina as « The Mets Poet ».

Messina earned a B.A. in English from St. Thomas Aquinas College in 1990 and received The Woolrich Poetry Fellowship of Columbia University in 1993 where he studied under David Ignatow and later with Alan Dugan at the Poetry Writing Workshop at Indiana University. Messina was nominated for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award in 1995 and commissioned for Kentucky Colonel in October, 2010.

In the 1990’s, Messina founded the spoken word band, « Spoken Motion ». He’s toured in over a dozen countries and forty states in America.

Messina has appeared on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and more recently in the feature film, Blood Ties, by French director Guillaume Canet and the PBS documentary, Jack Kerouac Slept Here, starring David Amram and Joyce Johnson, directed/produced by Mark Reese and Gus Mollasis. He currently serves as an Artistic Advisor to the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence Project of Orlando Florida.


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