Cries of Distress from the Boom Carpet

It would be a crime
to translate the muffled
trombone of adult voices
in Charlie Brown’s world.

It would be a crime
to dissect any parallels between
Simon and Garfunkel’s folk song “Patterns”
and Uncle Tupelo’s instrumental “Sandusky.”

To make fun of your 14-year-old self
for singing her heart out
to Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”
slightly off key.

A crime to villainize
your girlfriend who laughs so hard
at your performance
tears stream down her cheeks. Yours.

Neither of you could know
the beauty in that moment.

A crime to believe
all this organology
will bring back
the lituus or gue.

It would be a crime to continue
cursing the banjo or accordion,
bagpipes or penny whistle,
ukulele or hurdy-gurdy.

To forget
how it felt to play
that harpsichord
when you were 10.

A broken
sound barrier
will heal itself faster
without your help.

The biggest crime
you can commit—

the moment you pin a word on it,
everything falls apart.

Paradoxical Sleep (or, What the Living Statue Sees in Himself)

Black squirrels, albino squirrels,
skunks, raccoons, no fish
infest walls, ceilings,
crawl spaces, window wells.
The marsh bleeds in. Whorls

from rushes sprout suddenly,
dangerously as a rogue
eyelash that gets stuck
on the surface. This is
no Cocteau film. This is

my dream to star in.
I’m no star. I’ll be

your Planet 9
for real this time.
I’ll give you a wide berth.
Just let me exert gravity
over some frozen volatiles.

Just give me time
to make it all the way
around in the dark.
No one has seen me
with or without you.

I won’t be demoted
this time. It’s been so long since

I ate meat,
I can’t remember what you did
with the knives.

Royal Flush

I find the king
of hearts I never knew
I was looking for

over the hill
beneath the pines

he’s face down
on the paved trail
not in the road

where that unidentifiable dead
animal has melded
into the pavement

I almost don’t bother
but can’t resist

I pick him up
without knowing
what I have in my hand

without caring
where he’s been
I flip him over

without looking for
the others

don’t need a full deck
I’ll be 52 soon

City Park Disorienteering

Yo, Brooklyn! Oy, Manhattan!
An elevated freight railway into the High Line.
An underground trolley terminal
could become the LowLine.

Remember the waterfall
under the Brooklyn Bridge.

You’re so left-handed,
just drop the ball
and run. No amount of FoMO
will catch you if

you avoid the beaten

pathology. If you find yourself
lost in your favorite urban
wilderness, look for
that Swedish Cottage

where marionettes reign.

Living a few moments
with strings attached
could help you locate
your next experience.

If you find yourself lost

anywhere near
the finish line,
dig out that chalk,
draw a new line.

Untag & Unlabel

No one mispronounces her
name the way she wishes.
No habit defines her perfectly.

Except solitude
as it gets tucked inside
the boots of a crowd.

She tells the truth
because she forgets
her lines again.

Going off
script is an addiction
she confesses

at the least possible
moment before boarding
a plane heading east.

When she arrives,
she will plant wisteria seeds
in your bower.

Will ignore the danger
that comes

from knowing you
may not Google yourself,
but she will.