View Above the Parking Lot

She can smell the rivers
of Lake Street
on his breath. In the valley
of broken people, this boulder
train holds what the climb
cannot say about the veranda
outside his treehouse door.
When a bowling alley was a bowling alley.

Saccades

dreams of unconditional
love and loss
of person / place / or

my sister
in her garden
my body falling
into a glacial pothole
I’ve never seen awake
inside Central Park

the REM rhythm wiped clean
now that I am alert
to your words
as they crumble
and their debris flows
off the page

I touch a pair
of opera glasses
with my worst fear
to truly see
the thing
a rogue code seeps in

the sound it makes
nauseates me
an incurable motion
sickness with no horizon in sight
the landlocked blow
to the head

then there’s the sound
of your voice / smooth
as another nitro cold brew
I will not order
before I fail again
to conquer the blinking cursor

soon I will lift your smile
with these fingers
I press against the massive pane

if they throw rocks at us
the explosion
will write our song
into drooping air
to be heard
only when we sleep

my father’s still dead
not from that day
she erases the flags
on the anniversary
of our death
so we can breathe

Bridge

For MJN crossing beneath,
for NYC connecting across,
for the Brooklyn Bridge rescue working destiny

Advance your vantage
point, collapse
your facade of steel,
your gutted concrete floor.

Collide your bridge maker
with mine, collage your hand over mouth
with my eyes shut,
vocal chords in strangulation—

a scream
a void

to coalesce to convalesce
on one promenade
of material unidentifiable yet.
Coordinate the crossing—

bare feet
dust
ash caked faces

no veil could protect,
suits meaningless, ties undone
till they become arms swaying.
A human chain

of events. A human
behavior changing—
never
no way
when
now.

They designed bridges
to be passageways.
Make them good
to get no further

than this. It is still where it has been,
the destination stands
between these pedestrian elevating towers
still here.

When Falling Becomes Permanent

let’s all lie
about the weather
take a Sharpie
to the truth
toy with people’s fear
shoot a pistol
into the sky
poke a hole
in the canvas
drain the fountain
to get ready
believe the myth
about being
more powerful than gravity
is god
no amount of rubbing
alcohol will remove
these stains
from our hands

Countdown Clock

Next trip booked,
New York in November
registers this relief.

Hotel Beacon the last two times,
why not inch my way north
to Hotel Belleclaire,

two blocks closer
to the last place in the City
I called home?

I’ll find my way
back to the Bronx
first time in a decade.

Time to touch
all the rivers
that aren’t really

rivers—the Hudson,
the East,
the Spuyten Duyvil—

and then there’s the Bronx,
the only freshwater river
in the City.

I will trace
a route with my tongue,
taste the emptying

with a hand
and heart that refuse
to let go

of the expired
MetroCards in my wallet,
even a bullseye token or two

stashed in a wooden box
filled with European currency
collected before the Euro

united us all.
OMNY present or absent,
I will ride the lines

underground where the City gets real.
Enthalpy and entropy
collide on the third rail.

We’re all falling apart
at least a little bit. What a relief
this reservation brings.

Baymouth Bar

this is no east
of Eden / no fratricide
lake valley

the freighters
come and go
at all hours

the aerial lift bridge
goes up and down
to the same beat

the air numbs
the pain / named or not

I wake in another
hotel room
near another waterfront

for a few brief moments
cannot remember
fresh or salt today

cannot shake
the jamais vu

the sandy stretches
I misplace
beneath my feet

the very feet
I might not recognize
moving in the dark

I look up and wonder how
the aurora borealis
looks from this side

could be time
to redefine too cold
to swim in

Hydrostatic

I could repeat the one
about pretending to be
a tourist in my own town.
I could map a new one
based on a hungover memory
of a lake freighter,
an aerial lift bridge,
and a temper that refused to be

quenched—mine.
I could write
the color red
out of existence,
and the hotel would
still whisper home
to gravity’s
cooled-off night.

It hurts
the ghost.
It laughs
across a ford.
It blinks in unison
with the light
on the broken table.
It will hurt again.

This unnecessary body
balances against
a persistent wind.

The water tower!
Why didn’t I think of it before?

And the sky photobombing above
the way my dead father
would have insisted.