Out of the woods the sky has turned
to sherbet and I can’t stop it from
melting down the horizon
Run for the bridge
my hips swinging with leftover
I can’t stop them
Abundant pointlessness in trying
to hold on to the sky
I want to tell you about it
instead I stop on the bridge, breathing
cracked open and uncomfortable
where I need
Walk out of Lean Crust on Fulton with an
extra large pie under my arm, ostensibly
to freeze, eat later, but
Biker dude, missing tooth, stubble, elbows
Holy moly, looka the sizea that pizza that girl’s got!
Oh man, that’s some kinda pizza!
Smile, wave, rub my belly with my free
hand. An old man in a collared-up trench,
a small fedora
covering the rest.
a pretty big pizza, he growls, looking
at me and every no one.
We have the kind of heat
in our old tenement inspired by slumlords
of the immigrant poor’s memory. The kind
that clanks its way into oblivion
degrees, makes your nostrils beg
for saline, makes rice paper blinds
above the radiator blow in the breeze.
The window is shut.
Nora, the subletting French exchange
student helping to gentrify the 4th
floor, knocked on my door last night
just 5 minutes after a fantastic crash
shook the dust out of the drywall.
I need help, it fell, I cannot.
In her living room, I laughed. They don’t
have air conditioners in France. Our heat was
too much for Nora, she opened the
window. The A/C dangled outside by its
circuit-breaking cord, like an anvil,
like a grand piano.
We hauled it in.
I showed her: this is how you close
the heat down in our building.
I ran into Henry today, he owns the
Essex Street Market building.
Smells like old cigars, matted dreads
and stale construction. A hot city day,
breathing sidewalk and tar.
Henry told me his plan to screw
the vulture capitalists
was to put a high-rise
housing on top of the market,
power it with solar panels —
“let those hotel bastards
look at us then!”
He said, “You don’t kill
the goose that laid the golden
egg cuz then you got no
He said, “I remember when
I was young
and I wanted to be rich,
so I went out
and got rich.
I remember the first time I kissed
a girl and the time after that
and the time after that and
it was all in my head,
Sneaking through barred windows over fire
escape, barbed wire on roof next door catches glinting
sudden sunshine after early December rainstorm.
Furious event horizon passes over with the
speed of NYC rush hour pedestrian traffic.
Wind kicks in, knocks me down in the
crosswalk of Broadway.
I knew it was coming.
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.