Saturday, November 23, 2013


This city in the palm of our hands like a wet metro card
Life and death depending on how far it can get us
And this damned machine won’t take it because it is flawed,
The remains of it taken up from the gutter, with trips
Still clinging to it, but beyond redemption or claim,
And the expiration date clicking off too fast to allow
This ticket to fortune to dry, we never actually knowing
If it contains anything of value or a trip to any place
At all, after a decade from that first time selling all
We have to sell, to this, no way to climb out so we
Cling to this thing we have found, stained with the sweat
Of others who earned this ride but somehow lost it
On their way for us to find, their sweat leaving us to sweat
Over whether or not we can redeem it when it has
Been so misused, this street, this city, this vulgar landscape
We must cross to get from where we were to where we are
going, uncertain just who it is that paid the fare, as long
As someone has, and doubtful, when we stick this card

In the turnstile whether we can get through to the other side at all.

Where are the gifts?

“It’s warm in here,” they say and sigh
And tumble into chairs that slide
There is dust here, too, rising from thick arms
Of the thick-armed arm chairs,
“Tell me,” they say, “why you bear no gifts,”
On this of all days when gifts must be given
They stair under the tree at all the angel hair
And shake their heads and ask what’s fair.
“I keep my gift until night,” I say,
“When all good kids are tucked away.
“You know all that clap trap about
“Santa and his merry route.”
“No,” they say staring at my lack of sleigh
And where stocking at the mantel sway,
And wonder if they’d been good
And if I bear coal under my hood
“And those?” they ask, “are from Santa, too?”
As they wonder what it is they’ll do,
When they can’t get gifts they fought to find,
Will Christmas then seem a waste of time?
Out in the cold for slow long my toes
Are as numb as is my nose
And I watch their thick arms rise to go
Shaking the world I used to know
And yet so desperate to get their gold
They lug along their sacks of coal

Friday, November 22, 2013

Port Authority

The owls of the city bleat
This late night leading to dawn
Wide eyes wider than mine
As I walk down this lonely road,
Like stop lights going on
And off, full of yellows
And greens, saying caution
Then go, only to blink
Caution again as I wait
For the red to come
And the old passion to race
In my head and heart
Time cannot erase completely
Like the old lessons on the nun’s
Blackboard blurred and written
Over but always there,
and I am a complete confusion
as to which I should read
the new or old,
pausing to sit on a park bench
in this dark of night,
in this city of lights
on this dark street behind
the blinding street
where the buses huff and puff
and wait to return through the
tunnel I must always pass through,
my thoughts not of the painted
ladies the prowl this dark sidewalk
but of the hundreds of times
maybe thousands I have passed
through this place on my way
to find some place else,
and that one time, when I could
not find any trace of you,
and sat down on the curb
to stare the owl-like lights
that blinked inside and outside
of me, telling me to go, but not go,
to hurry, but slow down,
to find that one bus that will
take me to where I need to go
but do not know where it is,
unable to buy the right ticket
unable to rush ahead between
the blinks of lights
and how in those days I wandered
the echoing halls of this place
to find the right gate to the right place
and the ticket that might lead
me to paradise, and how
after all these years,
I still end up here, sitting on this curb,
Staring at the blinking lights

Telling me to go, but not go.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wet leaves

Wet leaves
Clutch the ground
Like desperate hands
Fingers clutching
The rain-soaked earth
As I step among them,
This walk through
The chill air
Driven by the same
Urgency that they
Must feel on the edge
Of something
They do not understand,
This end of life cycle
We all share
Aching to know
If there will be a new green
After the heavy snows go
And will what we love
And lost in this life
Linger into the next
For our fingers to grasp again
To draw up to our heart
To feel its beating against
The beating that still beats
Inside of us,
Each step I take this autumn
Always filled with the hope
That it will all start again
And all I need do is wait
For the cold to pass,
And in this, I let the rain
Dribble down over and inside of me

Cleansing me

Thursday, November 7, 2013

When the rain comes

When the rain comes
My bone hurt for want of wet
The ache for the change
The want of wet
After such a time of draught
The changing leaves
Strewn across every step I take
Stuck to the ground to leave
Their imprint when I pull
Up one by its stem
When the rain comes
I feel it drip inside me
Even as it wets my brow
Not tears of sorrow
But tears of joy
As this season eases
Into the next and this
A baptism for a new age
With me traveling
Through time
Each changing season
Leaving its ring inside me
The way it always does
The trees from which
The leaves fall