Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Four Poems by Dave Roskos

I staggered across

the boardwalk w/

a six pack of beer

I lowered it over the fence

onto the beach & then

tumbled over the fence

into the sand

I walked a few feet

& the cardboard six pack

holder fell apart

& the beer bottles

fell in the sand.

I pulled a piece of tinfoil

out of my pocket

unwrapped it

& ate a hit & a half of

gelatin-like LSD

which was stuck to it

then I gathered up

my beer

& continued walking

toward the ocean

a cop blew a whistle

& told me to stop

& drop the beer

they escorted me

off the beach

across the boardwalk

to the street.

one of the cops

set me against

a cop car

& began interrogating me

he kept telling me to

stop spitting

I didn’t get why

he cared if I spit

or not until

I looked down

at his shoes

which were covered

in spit

(& I wasn’t even

aiming for them!)

I burst out into laughter


by the time we got

to the Seaside Heights

police station

I was feeling

the effects of the acid.


the cops made me

take all of my clothes off

& threw me in a small cell

where the acid


to kick in



a little while later

they brought me

out into a brightly

lit empty room

& stood me

against the wall

which was covered

w/ blood splatterings

dripping red like a

Jackson Pollock



the cop who arrested me

whose shoes I had spit on

started poking a nightstick

into my chest, yelling

spit on me now, tough guy!

there were a dozen

other cops in the room

they formed a half

circle from one side

of me to the other

on the wall

they all had nights sticks too

& were slapping

them into their hands

waiting for me to make

the first move

Come on! Hit me!

yelled the cop--

I said, I’m not crazy

& did not make a move

I asked one of the cops

who looked like he

was in charge if he

knew my father

he said, yeah,

& it looks like

you are following

in his footsteps.


they put me back

in the cell, still naked.


some time later

they gave me my clothes

& drove me to the

juvenile jail

in Toms River


That was the worst acid trip I ever had



When I was a teenager

I hated cops

& used to spit on them

when I was drunk


my father was my first

drinking buddy

we smoked pot together too


he liked fords for some reason

had several 1965 mustangs

& a few falcons (a 1960 w/ 3 on the tree)

but mostly he drove dodge darts


everybody drank & drove back then

the cops would take yr car keys

tell you to sleep it off

in the backseat

come back a few hours later

at the end of their shift

& give ya your keys back


once me & my dad

& a bunch of our friends

as many as could fit in the backseat

got pulled over by a cop

in the pine barrens


I had been in a black out

the last thing I remembered

was being at a party in the afternoon

all of a sudden it was night time

& we were all standing

on the side of route 70

with the red lights revolving

into the trees around us


there were 2 or 3 cops

“Dover Rovers” we called them

on account they were from Dover Township


one of them questioned me

asked for ID & when he

was done, moved on to one of

our friends who was standing

next to me. they had us

all lined up in a row against

one of the police cars


one of the gals

had a big bag of potato chips

I stuck my hand in the bag

& stuffed a bunch of

chips in my mouth,

chewed them up,

filling my cheeks

like a chipmunk.


I tapped on the cop’s shoulder

when he turned to look at me

I sprayed the potato chips

in his face in a long

continuous spray


all of my friends laughed

& the cops handcuffed me

& threw me in the back

of the police car


my dad was already back there

his hands cuffed behind his back

Ya gotta stop spitting on cops Davey,

he said, one of these times

one of em might kill you.


my step-father Storm

picked me up from the jail

in Whiting

I was only 15 so they

released me into his custody


we didn’t speak on the drive home

(I think they took my dad to ocean county jail)


As we walked into the living room

Saturday Night Live was on TV

& the Grateful Dead were playing

Bob Weir was wearing bunny ears

It was Saturday April 5, 1980,

the night before Easter


Another Time / Another Traffic Stop

another summer night

coming out of a blackout

being questioned by the police

my hands cuffed behind my back

cop says blow in my face

(he wanted to see if he could

smell alcohol on my breath)

I twisted my mouth

into a sarcastic smile

my friends burst out laughing

the cop kicked my legs

out from under me 

& I landed on my back

on the asphalt

my father yelled

Don’t you fuckin’ touch him!

& lunged toward the cops

but they already

had him constrained



Poem For The Police at Seaside Heights


At sixteen I was arrested

for spitting on a policeman’s shoes.

A copy of Allen Ginsberg’s Planet News

in my back pocket.

They called me the philosopher king

and applied several tactics of intimidation.

They stripped me naked & threw me in a cell.

I had planned on traveling to Tennessee

to visit Stephen Gaskin’s Farm.

I wouldn’t have lasted a week;

Drug addicts make terrible hippies.

Angry young men make bad lovers.


Life is so much better,

since I’ve been off booze.

Bio: Dave Roskos is the editor of Big Hammer Magazine & Iniquity Press/Vendetta Books. Currently editing a mag called Street Value, a print zine which is online at: He works as a life skills specialist for a non-profit independent housing program for folks recovering from mental illness & addiction.

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