Early Saturday Morning Pandemic Dream

walking becomes
riding a bike becomes
scooting between highway lanes
in an unidentifiable capsule
collapsible
deep blue with white racing stripes

trying to get back

to the Bronx

your brothers play war

simulations in your bedroom closet

trying to get back

to the Bronx

where’s the #1 train
no one wears a mask
where’s your filter
take the N or the R
a stranger nowhere
near you says

what

where’s the light switch

to turn off

this nonsense

trying to

get back

to the Bronx
how did they
get in there
tails hidden
you follow
the #1 rule

of improv

don’t deny it

you’re lost

it’s the tell a story

rule

you reject

without a way home
out of this offline
memory reprocessing
preparation for possible
future threats where the Bronx
is the only safe haven

2021 Begins With

a week of rime ice
on tree branches, fences,
power lines, news of a breach,
sedition, insurrection
within the US Capitol
inside the US capital.
Humid air in Minnesota
in January disturbs

the order. White feathers,
needing fanning, float
off the grid. Time to replace
the spikes on your traction aids.
Time to plead for it in a new voice,
hope, however off key.

Undo

With only one sub-zero day
this season, I worry the ice skaters
and hockey players
won’t make it

off the pond. It’s a new year,
and I still worry I won’t
remember how to talk to someone
unmasked. I won’t be able to unsay

the things my lips
expose, the blotter stained
with ink bled long ago.
Letting go of the pain

will take more than reading
the DANGER THIN ICE sign out loud.

Late This December

The sky
spits snow flakes at
an angle you embrace
from the warmth of your apartment.
Hearsay,

all of
it. Till you risk
everything, layer up,
go outside where the real poems
await

their fate.
Do you dare dig
one out with the toe of
your left running shoe? Pick it up,
hold it

in your
gloved hand, tuck it
into the inner breast
pocket of your extreme cold, red
jacket.

What you
salvage indoors
from the thaw will become
your next savage scream to scratch the
silence

open,
to study its
contents. Even nothing
left means you’ve captured the sum of
this now.

Trigger Point

I take
this—my lefty
self—to the floorboards to
remember how dance was once the
response,

the space
to tuck into
last night’s vision of my
duende and guardian angel
rocking

out in
the alley. The
temperature having
dropped below sinister, they were
trying

to keep
warm. Open stairs
elevate the terror
to a new plateau where I stage
the old

did she
jump or was she
pushed penultimate act,
gravity and geometry
at work.

Blinds that
open crooked
or not at all, need a
new way to exercise our right
to light.

December Girls

No snow.
You see a real
cardinal on the trail
on your birthday in the last month
of this

warped year.
Red light flashing
everywhere, nowhere to
go, the slower the pendulum
swings. Let’s

call it
lento. Let’s pause
to notice the hidden
truth—stray mountains of dirty snow
leave proof

of odd
October storms,
escape the thaw. No, let’s
call it rubato. How we’re all
stealing

time. Born
into one of
the darkest nights to one
of the darkest days in this, the
darkest

of years,
these latest fall
babies brood all the way
open. Not even winter yet.
The wait

to hear
it loud and clear,
December girls, not boys,
sing a subtler perched beauty one
branch up.

Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge Redux (with Ashbery and Armajani Both Gone)

Are you
a dove or a
pigeon? Do you drive, or
are you driven to say what we
must be

thinking
in a broken
Ashbery kind of way?
It is so much like a bridge for
walking,

make it
running away.
Longest poem in this
world, spans 16 lanes of traffic
both ways.

What I
take for granted
extends beyond metal
letters. Time to pay attention
again.

Most Invasive Species

Last night’s
hazy dream, was
it a big rig or freight
train we almost crashed into? You
behind

the wheel.
Me shouting your
name to turn it or do
whatever it is you drivers
do to

avert
collisions. I
felt no motion sickness
the way I would awake inside
a large

starling
murmuration—
a half million beating
wings undulating across the
dusk sky.

It’s not
their fault they’re here.
Blame the Shakespeare-obsessed
drug maker who released 60
of them

into
Central Park in
1890. And please
do not call that tiny saw-whet
owl found

inside
that giant spruce
a stowaway. It was
her home before it was chopped down,
tossed on

a truck
to become the
Rockefeller Center
Xmas tree. Refugee is more
like it.