Archive for ‘Poems’

June 24, 2009

Sub-Sahara

Smoke evaporates from Camels choked
by the fingers of my two friends who lean
over a railing, elbows pressed to granite
Eyes lost in a blue-black canopy,
Night,
made to shroud a desert and the death
we three knew crept
Into homes and tents, under the blankets
of hospital beds, through children’s pores,
out of needles potent with devilment,
the stumps of hacked-away limbs, and
exit wounds ripped by bullet heads

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June 11, 2009

New York Sunset

I stare across the Hudson
to small, rectangular buildings
with the character of concrete
and feel sorry for the sun
My usual spot extends near the railing,
West Side pier off Christopher Street,
roller-bladers and bike riders pause for breaks,
a trove of gay people congregate
under the shale sky
Couples hold hands and whisper endearments
or embrace to kiss as tour boats drift,
gulls squawk like gossips
A passing Circle Line ferry ambles below the horizon
I cannon imaginary pennies into the river,
flicking fingers against thumb,
listening to water clap the underside of planks
Parsippany and Hoboken and Newark
all claim pieces of the dying sun

May 4, 2009

Modern Hustler

Smack hard the gavel
only after contemplation
of opportunity, its alacrity, too

Have you ever peddled a product on eBay
for twice what you paid?
Have you bought a stock on a tip,
some kind of inside communicado,
then sold it on the same?

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August 11, 2008

Philippe Petit Walks

[Published in Proteus in Winter, 2002]

Philippe Petit still walks,
You can see him there, I swear,
But don’t look down!
(You always look down)
Look up! Look up!
Can’t you see him there?

Dancing,
Balancing on the World,
Sitting on a wire,
He’s a free bird, a loose canary,
With human compunction
(The good kind).

Philippe Petit still walks,
I’m telling you, it’s true,
Look hard enough,
He’s there:
In ’74,
With the towers under his knee.

August 11, 2008

Baltimore

[Published in Proteus, Spring 2003]

We ordered Maryland Blue Crabs in the Inner Harbor,
And tried to eat them as the water taxis sped by,
A man next to us said we didn’t have a clue,
He picked up a crab and opened it as if it were a knot
We said, Now we see, and continued to stare
The man showed us again and said, Welcome, come again
We ruminated on the sky with our Blue Crabs,
And the new trick to open them in our minds
Later, you said it was the best vacation you ever had

We went to Fells Point and strolled down Shakespeare Street
We bought a newspaper and studied the real estate ads
We visited Edgar Allan Poe place and you said
What a great place for a writer to be
I said, Yeah, or to be your husband in
Years later, when we were richer and more well fed,
We ate Maryland Blue Crabs again,
You said you didn’t have the patience for it,
You preferred picked-apart King Crab instead.

August 11, 2008

Wishing for a World Without Models

You can air kiss with the best of them,
Throwing your chin in the sky,
Smacking your own breath as if you adored it,
Lollygagging by without so much as Hi.

And me, with my antideluvian wardrobe,
My gauche derriere, my skin beyond repair,
And me, I wonder how you got it,
My heart, and your instinct for deceit?