Nightlife Now: Where’s the Twinkle in His Eye?

From the entrance
to a moonlight gazebo,
she asks the first star she sees:

“Why won’t you become hyper
text like everything
beneath you?”

It’s been so long since
she’s given herself permission
to go outside after dark,

she forgets how delicate,
how vast,
the response.

A mile from the First Avenue walls
of stars, she can almost hear
a stray song flinch

as it gets linked
to its roots in the holler
where there’s still a twinkle in his eye.

Planting and Pruning in Loring Park

First mounds
of dirt one day,
suddenly the next week,
a thickening of the urban

my beloved park,
socially distanced rows
of Sargent cherry saplings line
the path

I take
each morning and
afternoon to stretch my
legs, trying to reduce the stress
of now.

It’s here—
my favorite
season in a shitty
year. Why does everything I
touch turn

out? Even the
story of the young white
walnut planted off to the side.

trees die.
trees. Damn the emerald
ash borer, damn us, and damn this

Gasping for air,
I gently press fingers
against the trunk in search of its

In the Mississippi River Pocket

the banks, between
two bridges, down dirt-caked
wooden steps, a white-sanded beach

to the river’s
shore—covered in feathers,
charred driftwood, dunes, graffiti on

Almost Astronomical Fall

Try not
to crush the leaf
you gather from the ground—
an early gift from the maple

Press its
already turned
veined redness between two
pages of a dictionary
and pray

it will
absorb meaning
as frost coats the wooden
deck to the pedestrian bridge
at dawn.

This Lost Year

These irregular heartbeats.
This day’s anxiety
will subside just in time
for tomorrow’s to kick in.

To be so lucky
to have a kitchen
with a sink drain
that clogs,

a job
with a neverending stream
of crazy deadlines
to meet,

to have a city
neighborhood park
to negotiate threats
of theft in.

Or, are they rumors?

To be all alone
in an apartment
without new images
to trap on paper with ink.

To be so lucky
to have a heart,
to be able to breathe,
to live through it.

Tribute in Light Bird’s-Eye View

When one
thousand pairs of
wings get trapped in the beams
of searchlights, or one crashes to
the ground,

signs of
confusion, it’s
time to pause for twenty
moments to release us to the

No one
wants more death to
further scar this date. Cries
fill the night. Please help me find my
way home.

End of Summer 1985

I want to sit
on an old wooden bench,
becomes a swing that glides over
the sea.

I don’t need these
vocal cords now that I’m
driftwood ready for air cushion

across the channel that
last lazy summer is flying

Where were
you, rusty old
moon, that morning I waved
good-bye to France forever (it
turns out)?

A new
of flight to read beneath
your carefully measured light from
a cliff.

“Summer’s over!”
Drowned out by the loud whir
of propellers and turboshaft

no one
heard me whisper
“You, lua, luna, lune,
fengári, tell me how I will
know you

are there,
watching over
me, when I reach the Bronx
to begin my love affair with
New York?”

No one
save you, rusty
old moon. Skirting through air,
making record time on beams of