July 27: 11 Months

Startled by the number 27

on my apartment door,
the nearest cross
street to an avenue

I used to live on. Where

did it factor
in your life
before it became

the day you died?

No reflexes can wake you
now, no tallies
too low, temperatures

too high. You used

to say time
was make believe,
manufactured to manage obsessions—

yours, mine, the rest

of the world’s. When light
rain placates a summer afternoon,
I wonder who

did the making and what

materials were used. You would
have known. Which mattered
most—the distance

you traveled or the moments

passed observed? You kept track
of both despite everything
because you knew

no other way to live.

Routes and Revivals

Nobody would mistake
a runner’s
log for poetry. No true

run could be
anything less. Or honest
obsession begin

any way other than head
first into the deep
end of risk

and nostalgia. I am
nobody waiting
to meet you

again. Then again
who am I

to be so mistaken

by fresh water
over warped notes?

Was the Anniversary of Johnny Thunders’ Birth

Yesterday. An unmarked package
delivered on an unmarked
morning. But she knows. Has been expecting

you to return
for a new verse, extended play. Gone
from gonna to did

and looping
back again. No more bye-bye. What’s it
like? Who really wants to know?

Another French Cold Press (or Bastille Day)

When she can’t remember what
she wrote
down yesterday, or

last night. When the lyrics
to an old favorite
taste funny

in her mouth. When
she turns left
instead of right to encounter

a street she hasn’t explored
in decades. Gets on a train

and gets off
in a town
she’s never heard of. And

the week feels eight
days long. And the quiet
in her head

alarms her. Then she turns
up the volume
to expose

a new silence
and words almost lost.

They Stare at the Spider on the Ceiling

Twenty years ago
social and media did not slow
dance together. We lived

two blocks apart and wrote
letters to each other—sometimes typed,
sometimes handwritten

on the back
of band flyers. Rode bicycles separately
to meet at civil twilight

beside a bench
on the west side of the lake. Carved
our initials into its weather-softened wood

back. Rain could not erase
the way we believed
we could entwine ourselves

into a protective web
to keep echoes of residual melancholy
at bay. That was the summer I became

precious cargo. I hear you are
a happy man now—and I still refuse
to dust corners or become graffiti.