Out of Order

is this a jisei
the way I love fall
more than any other season

the way a sax wails
out an open window
from an apartment building

across the street
to turn my life into a scene
from a film noir classic

a gray cat licks its paw
on a window sill
one floor up

if it weren’t so
black and white
you could see the leaves

on the maple below
turn red
as death

this life
no longer

wild white horses
running through the marshes
of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

trample over a blank
page to be filled
by another day into night

I’m trapped inside
a bathroom with a tempermental lock
in a door prone to swelling

dangerously / a copy of
The Prison Diary of Ho Chi Minh
the only reading material available

“And through the air-hole
the moon smiles
at the poet”

Amitav Ghosh reads
from his new novel
Gun Island tonight

inside a church chapel
far from the basement
banter below

where will those horses
and fellow flamingos go
when the Rhône delta drowns


is it too late
it’s too late

isn’t it

hot flashes rising
from deep within

the Earth burn

through another
rogue season

followed by
a severe chill

not for long
everything’s melting

the sky and trees
have gone silent

who’s steering
the last boat

as it holds
an uncharted course

to break the horizon
once and for all

View Above the Parking Lot

She can smell the rivers
of Lake Street
on his breath. In the valley
of broken people, this boulder
train holds what the climb
cannot say about the veranda
outside his treehouse door.
When a bowling alley was a bowling alley.


dreams of unconditional
love and loss
of person / place / or

my sister
in her garden
my body falling
into a glacial pothole
I’ve never seen awake
inside Central Park

the REM rhythm wiped clean
now that I am alert
to your words
as they crumble
and their debris flows
off the page

I touch a pair
of opera glasses
with my worst fear
to truly see
the thing
a rogue code seeps in

the sound it makes
nauseates me
an incurable motion
sickness with no horizon in sight
the landlocked blow
to the head

then there’s the sound
of your voice / smooth
as another nitro cold brew
I will not order
before I fail again
to conquer the blinking cursor

soon I will lift your smile
with these fingers
I press against the massive pane

if they throw rocks at us
the explosion
will write our song
into drooping air
to be heard
only when we sleep

my father’s still dead
not from that day
she erases the flags
on the anniversary
of our death
so we can breathe


For MJN crossing beneath,
for NYC connecting across,
for the Brooklyn Bridge rescue working destiny

Advance your vantage
point, collapse
your facade of steel,
your gutted concrete floor.

Collide your bridge maker
with mine, collage your hand over mouth
with my eyes shut,
vocal chords in strangulation—

a scream
a void

to coalesce to convalesce
on one promenade
of material unidentifiable yet.
Coordinate the crossing—

bare feet
ash caked faces

no veil could protect,
suits meaningless, ties undone
till they become arms swaying.
A human chain

of events. A human
behavior changing—
no way

They designed bridges
to be passageways.
Make them good
to get no further

than this. It is still where it has been,
the destination stands
between these pedestrian elevating towers
still here.

When Falling Becomes Permanent

let’s all lie
about the weather
take a Sharpie
to the truth
toy with people’s fear
shoot a pistol
into the sky
poke a hole
in the canvas
drain the fountain
to get ready
believe the myth
about being
more powerful than gravity
is god
no amount of rubbing
alcohol will remove
these stains
from our hands

Countdown Clock

Next trip booked,
New York in November
registers this relief.

Hotel Beacon the last two times,
why not inch my way north
to Hotel Belleclaire,

two blocks closer
to the last place in the City
I called home?

I’ll find my way
back to the Bronx
first time in a decade.

Time to touch
all the rivers
that aren’t really

rivers—the Hudson,
the East,
the Spuyten Duyvil—

and then there’s the Bronx,
the only freshwater river
in the City.

I will trace
a route with my tongue,
taste the emptying

with a hand
and heart that refuse
to let go

of the expired
MetroCards in my wallet,
even a bullseye token or two

stashed in a wooden box
filled with European currency
collected before the Euro

united us all.
OMNY present or absent,
I will ride the lines

underground where the City gets real.
Enthalpy and entropy
collide on the third rail.

We’re all falling apart
at least a little bit. What a relief
this reservation brings.