Chacun voit NY á sa fenêtre

Here in the city,
you won’t see me much.

The craft is vanishing
into large crowds,

crooked hallways
in the cold, cruel park

vapory midnight train cars
ten miles long.

Damp, dead periodical.
An expired license. … Continue reading

Transcontinental

i.

I like the idea that the West is still working
while the East that never sleeps
has long been tilted into darkness

Just as it once struck me to have ‘Karma’
So euphoniously explained as
‘The universal law of cause and effect.’ … Continue reading

First Memory

Though it feels a bit like saying your true family
is the one you got to know on the T.V.

or saying sunset
was the temperature of grapefruit’s blood

My first reality was a museum diorama, masterpieces of taxidermy,
big whales & jurassic resurrections by which the world began … Continue reading

TriBeCa Poem

i.

What else is there to say,

except this

is the world that is left.

It is good,

who would say.

Some languages,

we never learned—
but not me. … Continue reading

Box of Dirt

i.

Excavating box of dirt was a thing to dig when I was a kid:
Opening up the glossy box, impatient, unfolding its rigid lid.

My favorite things were mesozoic,
covered with likeness of beasts long-dead.

We can only guess what killed the past,
& never know how the thing roars. … Continue reading

Paula

You said all we love

we leave behind,

and that
was the hardest part.

You said that life
is like a whitetail flashing … Continue reading

Up in the Air

“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, I’m up! Daddy, I’m up!”

And Alan yells back, “Yup—up, up. I hear the bedsprings squeaking! Be there in just a minute,” finishes making Joey’s sandwich and stuffs it into insulated bag with fruit, cookie and thermos of juice. Now he hustles into the bedroom, juggling oranges, four of them. “Up, up, up!” He’s no great juggler but it always rouses Joey, who, two … Continue reading

Tremors

Milo could not believe his luck, or lack of it, his own landscaping business teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. He’d landed a security job at a building in LA Live from his ex-wife’s father. Now he was a rent-a-badge on the wrong side of forty, the failed side of fatherhood, the cliff side of health. It wasn’t just the pound a year that migrated to his midsection; it was the panic attacks born out of his failed marriage, the son he rarely saw, his difficulty with rage as he attempted to keep the peace at his job. His stress gave him panic attacks, tremors that vibrated through him and left him feeling like he was living underwater. One of his phobias was earthquakes, a fear he shared with the real estate tycoon Bart who owned the building he worked in and most of the city square surrounding them.
… Continue reading

The Paperboy and the Winter War

No war is without casualty.

In the winter of 1980, a brutal, but little-known war broke out in the small town of West Lake. It was January, frigid, and the year of my thirteenth birthday. And it all started with a dull, lifeless winter.

For months, I’d slogged through snowdrifts, empty streets and icy walks delivering shitty local news to homes muted by a cast-iron sky, all the while burdened by a heavy ink-stained canvas bag notched on my shoulder.
… Continue reading

The Ballad of Forty Dollars

Mickey Dykstra is an addict, not a murderer. The plan was never for old lady Duerson to die, or even to get hurt. She was supposed to be at the Senior Center food pantry collecting the weekly free groceries she could easily afford to buy herself. The last thing Mickey expected was for her to come home so early. No, not true—the last thing he expected was for a sweet, stupid grandma to not only have a .38, or whatever the hell it was, but to pull it from a kitchen drawer like it was a cheese grater and try to go Dirty Harry on his ass. … Continue reading

Into the Forest

Carla wasn’t afraid of horses, and this amazed her mother. Ariel was sure her five-year-old daughter would recoil from them as she did from large dogs and her six-foot, four-inch pre-school yoga teacher. (Carla’s school, in Boston, had been New Age before the term was invented.) Instead of retreating, however, Carla asked to be held in front of the horses so she could pet them between the eyes. She’d visited all six of the horses who occupied stalls at the May Day Stables. … Continue reading

Plantation

Fred saved Jarba from elaborate machines, broiling ovens, bubbling vats of tar, cruel children wearing Izod shirts and Nikes who ripped her clothes and beat her with sticks. Or she’d be hung in a cage in a dim kitchen, the old witch letting her out now and then for chores. The witch always found something to get mad about, a flaw in Jarba’s work, or wrong expression on her face. Punishment followed. The witch slapped her, or made her sweep the porch in the sunlight where men returning from their labors could see her dusty unwashed body. Whenever Fred saved Jarba, she was grateful. Together they would run through the cornfield beside the plantation gatehouse where she lived. Sometimes they kissed.

In the real world Jarba hated Fred. Fred did not blame her for hating him. Fred would have hated Fred too had Fred been Jarba. Fred hated himself for how awful he’d been to Jarba on the bus.

On the bus:

“That’s the dress my mother gave to the Salvation Army,” Karen Tucker said.

“Jarba eats Spam, don’t you, Jarba?” Stacey Treadway said.
… Continue reading