You are a bass drum thundering in my
chest and it makes me want to lick your
empty coffee cup after you leave in the morning.
I want to hover under neon Bulgarian techno beats,
listen to you tell me that you missed how I
smell like, insist that my German has gotten
far worse than your English, get to miss you from
only Attorney Street to Fire Island.
I knew the moment I saw you that you would
remember for me that I make words, you play
piano, and I knew you would remember sarcasm —
old habits die hard.
There are ten people in the universe;
you and me are two of them.
This poem has to be more than just how I
feel right now because otherwise it will become
a monologue, and unsent letter, an unclicked email,
a rant down Avenue A that no one else can hear
but me, lost in the synapses of streets and bound
pages of my brain. I will do away with
metaphor and hyperbole, figure out if the line
breaks when I pause or just
bends. I will show it to my friends’ glazed eyes, pounce
on the bridge that it creates between me and a phone
call still not made, answered. I will
bask in the glory of self-doubt and self-pity, and convince
myself that here in ABC Playground, the weather is
just playing hokey-pokey with me.
Soon it will be too hot to write in the sun.
I want to celebrate looking
in the mirror, but I don’t know how.
I can walk from 28th Street through
8th Avenue throngs,
asking where the park is,
getting them saying,
depends on what you wanna do in the park.
We’re trying to figure out the
meaning of life, of course, they shoo
us back east, towards Union or Tompkins Square.
Sit on the bench and pretend that
I put my head in your lap, asking for some
tangible touch of real
in ghosts acid the Bible.
A man whose khakis and stretched t-shirt
canvas across his belly
screaming tourist tourist tourist
checks out the statue a little too closely,
and it reminds us that yes,
New York is still New York.
When an older guy with a rainbow belt
wrapping his high-waisted shorts
hovering over tube socks
asks us if we need a cup of coffee,
we are offered a slice of
New York that tourists don’t get
to see because they still won’t
sit in our parks till 2am,
in the West Village as vacation,
figuring out how to kiss
goodnight without getting off
I-95 just yet.
A park scene in the diaspora. A guy holds his dog up to dance
for a baby, and she thinks he’s waving goodbye. A wrinkle with
gray dreads howls with laughter at all of them.
If I make myself hold the pen long enough, I will remember to write
without thinking. Memory will feed me when I am too poor to try, my love
will sit cradled in my brain, waiting to be hatched.
I moved here not to quit dreaming on rooftops but to make dreams on
pavement. To fashion a bouquet of stolen thoughts so I can sleep at
I keep holding this pen up not for genius but for piece
of mind. Look at the birds with the airlock brakes. Launching pad? I
never realized I had balance till I stood up and went on out.
Missing you. Wishing you could be the pieces of my fractured brain in
the crosswalk, but then, age and spirit aren’t the same thing; sorbet
and ice cream aren’t, either.
I don’t want love on a diamond — okay, maybe served on a silver
platter, sure — but I do want two feet someday, arms and cheeks to
They ask me why I write about New York so much. We know each other
really well, so it’s easy. NYU film students, bottled blonde, bottled
love, bottled up.
Afternoon naps aren’t nearly as satisfying as they used to be,
now that I can’t sleep at night without wondering if I’ll ever finish what I
started. You call me to complete the conversation. Start a new one.
Choosing to bake cupcakes and chasing pigeons are good
ideas. Two coffees in recycled coffee sleeves and kiss
goodbye while walking. Cooperation.