By the time I first met Francie Nolan,
my parents were separated, not yet
divorced. My father not yet
separated from his martinis.
Unlike Johnny Nolan, he did break
free from the incurable bond.
Like Johnny, my father died
of pneumonia. Plaques and tangles
instead of DTs and seizures.
I’ve known too many Johnnys.
I thought I wanted to become one too.
Why would anyone wish for such a thing?
I kept a diary just like Francie.
Still do. No longer any need to cross
out drunk, write down sick.
Turns out no one really cares
what I scribble in crayon
on blank walls while I wait
for the muse to return
from a night out
dancing to the cosmic unthreading
of dinosaur bones. Who knew my muse
would have a New York accent?
Another moment swept off the stoop
by the most invasive species.
All this time, I’ve been smashing
my limbs through an old tree stump—desperate to reach above fire
escapes to the sky.
Note: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn serves as an inspiration for the entire poem.