Fell in Love then Met

Remember when
a nook was a nook, friend
and text were nouns. We were verbs

entwined without
unnecessary articles. I imagine you
the way I did before

we met—and the whole poem collapsed
under the weight of our naked
words. Truth is

what was stranger than
has been replaced with less than
a preoccupation

with middle-aged thighs. And I
recognize this contradicts everything

you presume. Probably. Vain
is still nothing
but a modifier. The end.

1991: A Poem

Dream. Premonition. Mortality
begins now. I give him an anecdote
in a letter—he’ll never receive
my gift. If equilibrium exists, where’s my

ecstasy? My sister and I watch boats go
up and down the terrifyingly calm

Cuyahoga. Aboard the floating
Heartbreak Hotel, it’s all so close—
the banks of the river, a rail bridge ahead, the crushing
of fantasies. But it doesn’t happen

that way. The world begins to tip in a slowed motion. Sights
and sounds expand beyond their original limits. I watch

from another planet as he walks up the aisle. A kiss,
a hand in hand. Shall I be so bold
as to ask you? He asks. We kiss
as if the elevator door would never open again. Lovely

feet and hands. Brown eyes that turn cloudy
green or bottomless black at will—not his. When

he makes love, he talks. He loves
those vocal chords. I retreat
to the lobby bathroom to check
if I’m still wearing

my own skin. Is it mine? Still? Indeed.
Gravity is overrated.

Fabled Current

I make these cutouts and teardowns
with my own hands. Rivers and rape
have no relationship

to me. I come for the winding
water story. The other is a dry,
desperate crack in a vase. The wrong kind of deliberate,

it exposes danger. Someone could attempt to play
god. It’s the sand martin I hope to hear
as it emerges from its tunnel. It’s the abundance

spilling through my fingers
I plan to offer. Who’s going to laugh at that?

Could Count as a Tweet—But It’s Not

The more you became not what I thought you were pretending to be the more I wanted to define you within my cracked dictionary of obsession.

Robert De Niro

You came to me
in a dream I’m trying to rehabilitate.
I didn’t know I needed a raging bull.
Can’t confirm that I do. A Peugeot

pepper grinder won’t jam
my soul the way you might. It’s not the violence
in the ring but
some kind of beautiful

destruction within—all
in the name of poetry.

Into Shreds

The speakers are silent
and scratched in their encasements.
Videographers form a line
around your ruin. This is no time
for an apocalypse. These shadows
tower over notes someone left
on the ground. To be decoded
or ghettoized as graffiti, you
tell on the trees for neglecting
us—all of us who still want
to touch edges as we listen
to the ache.

Dial an Arbor

One hundred Bronx trees can speak
along the Grand Concourse. She wants to believe
they’ll speak

without the drink, will be interactive, won’t tumble
into monologues
with the arrogance to think

they are so different. She’s going to continue
to listen for them through light
rain and substantial winds. The stories they will tell.