Wound Up +/- Down

I just want to know who
will go canoeing with me
some other Wednesday evening
when those cardinals
don’t blend so well
into the sky.

If I bring the oars,
who will bring the lake?
Please don’t worry
about the rain.
We wish
it would rain here.

Meet me behind the switchback
stair in the middle
of my dream.
I wave to the woman
who climbs up and down
the pedestrian bridge steps

each morning. How many sets
does she do as I walk
through the sculpture garden
into a new day?
She’s been missing all week.
Where did she go?

This tiny blister
on my left foot
is the last straw.

This is war
I don’t believe in.
This is the silent treatment.
I keep my jaw clenched,
so no words of weakness
leak out.

I smell my own fear—
salt mixed with a hint
of hemlock. No, that’s not it.
More peppermint than radish.
More mango than marmalade.
A dash of vinegar of course.

More invasive than I care to admit.
Hypnagogic or hypnopompic,
I can’t tell sometimes.

Alone in a crowd again.
It’s a relief
to see you, cardinal,
not another red-winged
blackbird too eager
to defend the nest.

A Bottle of Onginnan Pink Gin from the Friday Night Gin Club

It could begin
with a small bowl of the tangiest
mid-summer blueberries. Maybe not
as tangy or plump
as the ones you picked
with your grandfather
on Cape Cod. Still.
Not a raspberry to infuse in sight.

It might begin
with washing brunch dishes
in MoCon—that flying saucer
of a dining hall
on top of Foss Hill—
on a hot Sunday afternoon
with an even hotter hangover.
No balcony announcements to ignore.

Buildings end.
It won’t begin

with that slash
in the porch screen,
the one you waited weeks
for moths to slip through.
They never did.
They had better places
to go. No hangover
cure needed.

Follow the light.
It will begin.

The train rolls in.
Another empty subway car
(save a soul)
with crowds jamming
into the ones
on either side.
The way it never
begins for some.

Scratched

And/or walk through
the grove of the old maple’s
offspring. And/or pause

to read the sign:
Private Property
And/or find your own path.

And/or sing the lost
fourth verse to
“This Land Is Your Land.”

And/or never forget
to bring your own
original Krylon cannons.

And/or don’t let fear
fracture your muse’s
skull. And then

the whole nest fell
and collapsed in a heap
on the back stoop.

Or relax your red tinged wings.
And there’s still this
body of yours.

238th Street Station

No, the wild turkey did not
chase me away as I walked
toward the tiny triangle park
created by Kenwood Parkway
arching around itself.

Spring Lake barely visible
through the thick copse of trees
in full bloom.

Yes, it did appear
out of nowhere
and slowly stroll toward me—
a saunter on stilts. No,
it was not in my dream last night.

Inside the Punch Bowl
in Kingsbridge,
the Bronx, was.

Was it a dream
or flashback to 1986?
No cast on my foot, but
those boys I knew from college,
they were definitely there.

Order another pitch
of whatever’s on tap.
Let’s stick to beer tonight.

I swear I could smell
the Stella D’oro Biscuit factory
down the street
though it’s been gone
over a decade.

Shtreimels are no longer
from the Bronx. No, I wasn’t
trapped in some deep underground

subway tunnel
like in so many others I’ve had.
All elevated and rumbling on this time.
Yes, those are seagulls
flying over the station.