We were not the kind of urban
mice that parade across
wooden floorboards in broad daylight
without fear.

We were the kind
that scurry through the dark
underground corners of The City
in those infamous wee hours.

We did our best
not to whack the third rail
with our tails while tripoding
to calculate our next move.

We were not rats. To skin the hide
off early morning to cover our naked
bodies was the only way
we knew how to disentangle.

Extremely hungover on one particular
morning after, I would write
how I fumbled and pillaged
the night away.

Did I mean sabotage?
Where did I stash the plunder?
A cable-knit sweater, men’s large,
left behind as the only evidence

of what I was too frightened
to admit even to myself
within the confines
of a private journal.

I was an open book with pages stuck
together from so many wine spills.

There was a staring contest
on a slowly emptying Redbird
subway car, while our buddies
were passed out around us

on the bench seating.
We never declared a winner.
It was the beginning
of the graffiti die hard period.

The artists lost. Whose euphoric recall
is this anyhow?

Surreptitiously gnawing at
our bootstraps, we slipped into all
the right blind spots—and then
the era ended in the blink of an eye.

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