Thursday, December 16, 2010


She tells me
other people don’t understand,

leaning forward and then backwards in the chair,
as if there was not enough room
at this little table
in this little coffee shop
in Brooklyn.

Apartment living is different, she tells me.
We were talking about space, the tender occupation of space,

how a life is cobbled together out of plaster dust
and poorly applied paint

We are just wading through.
Mythbusting, she says with a laugh.

You have to take it, bite down on it to find the gold.
A deep and unwavering act of cherish.
There is something both savage and tender in the act.

And she is right,
when last night I stood in the living room
and saw how 13 years of love could morph
and change and become something you needed to catch

and pin down and hold against you
till it’s breathing steadied and
it’s mouth finally closing over long teeth and
the night was brought back
to us

quiet again but changed
a renewal of sorts,
with slight scorch marks
and the sharp whiff of incandescence

like a fire finally stamped out.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

After the Accident

Keep your eyes open, he tells me,
and I watch his through the rear view mirror. Small and squinted
like he’s always smiling even when he isn’t, like right now.

The car is moving faster now and I’m not sure where
I should put my hands because of the blood.

These are the things I worry about.
I try to tell him this but no words come out.

Keep your eyes open, he says again.
At least I think it was again. Maybe this was the first time.

I can smell the water on me, metallic
copper – like rust waiting to be born –

Tell me what happens in On The Waterfront, he says
but I have never seen that movie.

Suddenly I am afraid, because I can’t answer that question
and I can’t keep my eyes open. So I start making up a story.

I add characters and setting and dialogue
and I hear him laugh lightly – but then whimper – like a hit thing.

Okay, he says. Wizard of Oz. Tell me what happens.
And I smile, my eyelids dropping because I know this one
and I know we are only a few miles from the hospital

and if we can just get there, everything is going to be okay again.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Day After the Anniversary of Your Death

We walked through the freezing cold,
that blew up 75th street,
straight from the estuary
and through the fabric of our jackets,

your music blasting from
an ear bud one in each of our ears
the way young lovers do
not old lovers like we are now.

There was caterwauling
and I thought to myself,
we are going to wake up
all the old people on the street

because I can’t carry a tune.
You were doing great though, you always do,

but you weren’t worried about the others.
We always have to hear them, you remind me,

and besides, it was thirty years ago,
thirty years and one day
since Lennon was killed.

Tomorrow we’ll walk past the gates of the Dakota,
not really stopping by the guard,
but lingering just a bit to look down that driveway.
You will tell me that John asked to walk in. He stopped the driver.

There will be no singing tomorrow.
But tonight, we are still on this street,
with music in our ears
his music
and the hope of warmth
if we can ever make it out of this cold
and to the front door.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Appointment

Today is one of those days I have been dreading
because it all feels too personal.
His hands, slippery in rubber
up against my teeth filling my mouth
The metal or the pain, one of those, smelling hot
like a pot of soup left to burn on the range.

He will have me lay back in his chair,
his eye magnified like a bugs
through the lens so that I cannot bare

to look at them
blinking, huge.

I will be trapped and he will be in control.
That is the worst part isn’t it?

I will stare up at the light,
it’s sickly yellow hue.
There will be blood, and saliva,
mixed together,
filling my mouth.

If I can see it, in the reflection of his glasses,
I will think I am being punished.
This is how it will go.

There is too much work in the tending of the body,
and I don’t understand why I cannot just check out
sometimes, just float into another space,

of quiet
of silence
without thought and without the notion of the next thing
waiting to fall.

I will remember being younger and not being afraid
of this man with the metal and the needles
and the white mask over his face.
and how
stupid and foolish children can be.