It’s More than the Step Streets

More than the foot I broke
outside Van Cortlandt Park.
And the friends

and family and
strangers who visited
me up there. To be at the end

of the line
at night and first
on the train the next

morning, to be safely wedged
northwest, to be rich
in two hours’ worth of rhythmic

thought each day is
to be more than the sum
of 160 steps up.

Homesick for Major Deegan Exit 11

Digital monsters
with moustaches, power
outlets in the café
floor, the names
we never got

right—that door
ought to be
locked. Or, then, not
at all. Why did this
way get invented

if no one is
allowed to go
this way? That
would be called
the last
exits to exist.

When Corlear Avenue Was Home

No recipes for Pinterest. No nails
for the resurrection
of Washington

Avenue. It’s really a boulevard
without the reach
of Broadway. I remember

the way I lived
in the Bronx. That elevated #1
line dropped shadows,

then hints, of the plains
I might choose to cross
before decades erased

my interest
in pins and collage.

Dial an Arbor

One hundred Bronx trees can speak
along the Grand Concourse. She wants to believe
they’ll speak

without the drink, will be interactive, won’t tumble
into monologues
with the arrogance to think

they are so different. She’s going to continue
to listen for them through light
rain and substantial winds. The stories they will tell.

Drift—Or Curse of the Smiling Eyes

Slip on ice but don’t fall
down. Seventeen more

days. We want a preview.
If I were a train,

I’d be local
and mostly underground

till I’m not. Sub or el—either way
I’d move people more

than I could ever move you

or me into tomorrow’s
shades of the unstratified.

If I Could Have Been Eva 62

Somewhere way uptown
“Bird Lives.” Barefoot
and in love, two dart
through wet cement.
Pen pals will be 

spawned. Stenciled
broken promises, the Bronx
could have come crumbling 

down. But it’s held on
for the ride. When the last
of the writing on the wall 

rolled along those tracks,
I arrived ready
to be winded
by those step streets.
I didn’t know it 

would be the shape
shifting that would catch me
in the throat.

Staged and Charged Up (Day 2,669)

No photos ever of me
in Brooklyn. Some in Queens—
an Astoria fourplex with unfinished 

hardwood floors. Manhattan all over beginning
inside the helm of the Flat Iron.
The Bronx north of 232nd Street indoors 

and out. Even one on Staten Island before
dashing across the Verrazano Narrows 

Bridge. Where did they go? I know
they were taken
by the tiny broken locks 

in my soul.
But I can’t end
on that—I’ll be the one 

stealing, not having earned
the right to mention it—
the soul that is.