Downtown Serenity Hour

Today’s investigation, a brand new
skyway smells like

a new car with music seeping through
its air vents. It takes me

through a different artery in the maze. Roots grow
to the first floor becomes a pink lit

W Hotel lobby. A vintage Foshay Tower
elevator car secures

me to the 27th floor. Spectacular view—yes. Cocktails—
yes. Eleven dollar nuts

and nothing else for the likes of me. I could ask
for an espresso but

this is enough discovery for one civil
twilight. Outside’s halo holds

only a spit of pink
inside heliotrope.

Power Out Wednesday

A transformer explodes, a squirrel
dies, civil twilight crashes

into darkness faster than my fingers
can touch the right digits

for relief. To open this book
of scents written by a left

hand to a stranger is exposure
I might not survive. To hide

the ink stains of impressionistic
thought is to remain in a corner

that might not be found
by a flashlight search and repair.

Tap Root

I will not ride
a horse down a busy city street,
won’t make it home

before dark. Sky drama
comes in many colors—iron and bronze
in this civil

twilight. And they sound
more brilliant
than I remember in December’s cold air.


She peels
an orange in the rain.
The scent remains
on her skin into civil
twilight. Her orange
raincoat fits perfectly
across her shoulders—winter
only seven days away. The color
of any aroma captures
her eye when she stands
still long enough to open
anything blocked.

Eleven Cubed

Whoever erased
all thoughts of him
from my head while I

slept last night
will become the new
mystery I expand

into an obsession
before snow falls
on another civil

twilight. Could be spitting
out toothpicks
for all I care.

Civil Delusion

Humor me—let’s pretend
you’re not dead. I’m young
enough to think I can still

drink. To believe you
think about me 30 minutes
before dawn, 30 minutes

after dusk. Not all promises
will be broken. You’ll make me laugh
more than cry. And I’ll see

that ridiculous smile,
those chuckling eyes,
when I can’t stop

writing these poems
about a dead man.

Air Mail Through an Open Window

If I die tonight, will we
become lovers by tomorrow
evening? Civil twilight to entwine
two severed spirits. Counting
finally done. To drink or not, new
wine or old—it won’t matter. That age gap
sewn up once and for all. If
I make it till morning, I will continue
to keep a record
of what might have been.

When She Wears Her Name Inside Out

I see her eyes
in the actor’s face. If
looks could give birth
to laughter, labor

would begin in hidden
murmurs there. The joy
is in riding
the Staten Island Ferry

come winter or late
fall. No one falls
in tonight. No swim will refresh
our thoughts. Lonely and lovely

dance on the deck
under a civil twilight sky.


Suddenly evening crowds
the street—a quickened
into darkness cooling
and smiling upward—there
moon, there moon.