loops rescue loops

protect dwellers

collect vials

involve tubes / caps

litter streets

reds / blues /

greens / buffs

buy string

creates necklaces

supply retailers

sell virtue / glass /

pipe / visions

wear vessels

contain blood / hair

ashes / crack

destroys nerves

shatter villains

mock virtue

conceals bodies

house veins

transmit signals

alert leaves

adorn trees

restore virtue

covers windows

collapse walls

pronouns and adjectives are not our friends

bees use tongues
to lap nectar from cups

of flowers / size does matter
when it comes to honeysuckles

the sign says
pollinators welcome / bee a friend

puns crash and shrivel
without snickers to ensure survival

nouns and verbs are our friends
the subject and predicate live together

in a rowhouse / the rowhouse
won’t burn down / the garden won’t flood

denizens and dwellers don’t need
to wait to grow a pair

of sea-legs / tourists do
the cheating / the boat circles

the island that stretches
a half-marathon in length

not a circle / an egg

leaning over the side
travelers spill drinks

like a tongue licking lips
made of metal

from a colossus
that lives underwater

the monster comes up for air
not yet choking

no one said anything about
adverbs / prepositions / conjunctions

that hide willingly beneath
bridges / over berms / branches in hand

no one is a pronoun
see how our enemies hover within

renewed colossus

a woman seizes the hem
of Lady Liberty to stir those silent lips
to move finally / to release a bell’s clean outburst
that will drown out all that trumped-up noise
about just get some nets
blowing in the hot July 4th air
evacuate the island / melt the ice
from another white Russian being sucked down low

she goes high as she can
to disrupt pyrotechnic-loving hands / to trespass
on behalf of those invisible mothers of exile
a child’s burning tears / with steady eyes / brackish breath
the lady watches over them / watches you / tweeter
tangled in your own weave beware

Overripe Bit

It’s not always a skunk she smells
deep in the wooded heart
of the island. Not mothballs

but rare moths aflutter
in the frost bottom
surrounded by scrub oak

and sad sand whispers
she emits along with that peculiar
faded light.

Nor seeping into an upper floor
hotel corridor
from one or more of those rooms

she cannot enter.
None of the plastic key cards
she’s collecting in her purse

will open those doors
or the ones she used to open
with metal access controllers—

blade and bow and
shoulder and cuts—attached

to a chain of unrelated events
to gain entry
into those old dwellings

where a wild animal
with black and white
fur did hang outside at night.

the beacon

I swallow the last drops
of New York City water

in my Minneapolis apartment
put the empty metal bottle in the sink

today is the 30th anniversary of my first trip
to Minneapolis

I flew the same route
LaGuardia to MSP

crossing over a piece of Canada
and some of the Great Lakes

I didn’t know then what I know now
about the quality of water

in those Manhattan rooftop tanks
and interior pumps

there’s a map that reveals
which ones have been inspected in the last year

and those filled with whole pigeon
and squirrel bones

the Hotel Beacon passes the cleanliness test
some days taste better than yesterday some don’t

I stopped darkening doors decades ago
when I lived among the guns I never felt safe

the one entrance does not lead
to the other exit

the wound I blame on the man behind the door
bears no resemblance to his blistered fingers

he no longer lives there
I no longer live inside

that wound
merely visit it on occasion

when I stay in the Hotel Beacon
drink its quality water

and marvel at my 11th floor view
of the Ansonia across Broadway

I remember some other firsts

experiencing the grandeur inside the Beacon Theatre next door
seeing him and his infamous Minneapolis band play live there

he wore a tattered white button-down shirt
he was drunk I was sober

it would be the reverse
when we finally meet in the Flats years later

Johnny Thunders opened and they didn’t play
Johnny’s Gonna Die

Johnny Johnny Johnny
he would be dead by the time of that Cleveland enounter

New York City
Minneapolis

how did I get here
I will never put home in a sentence that doesn’t include both

you know you are in New York City when

a dead rat with fresh
blood staining its mouth
becomes a mile marker
for your run along
the Hudson River Greenway

when greenway doesn’t
always mean green

you know you are
in New York City
but what am I

you know you
are in New York City
when you realize
your jaywalking skills
need a refresh

when the geese are so urban
and fearless

they ignore you
as they sit in the middle
of the too well-traveled path

when rivers flow
two ways and aren’t
really rivers
but tidal estuaries
and straits

when you wait and wait
on line never in

you know you are in New York City
when every living thing takes
more risks with life

death and squeezing onto a narrow island
without falling off

when all the languages
in the world
shove themselves into one subway car
and you get to participate
in the brackish hum