Month: December 2012

Chester

it’s strange to feel alone
in such fine company
his intelligent gaze
his upbeat conversation

sitting in a chair
at the kitchen table
watching me work
into the early hours

pacing the floor
causing distractions
watching the world through
the window

talking to himself
in the other room
with those wide, crazy eyes
full of confusion

staring at the sunlight
peeking over the horizon
then leaving me to my
train-wrecked thoughts alone

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Ghost Waltz

she’s dancing on the ceiling
as I’m lying here awake
the world is still in motion
running from a little bit of rain

she’s getting dressed and running late
I’m stumbling half-asleep
she takes the time for one more kiss
then runs out in the haze

I close the door and turn the corner
fall back into bed
still I close my eyes and see
Naomi in a wedding dress

she’s dancing on the ceiling
as I’m lying here awake
she’s working early in the morning
I’ve been working late

it still rains when we’re in love
sometimes we sleep alone
’cause I’ll be getting up to leave
when she’ll be coming home

Fifth Avenue

the rats are making music
in the bones of every neighborhood
windows stacked like biscuits and gravy
slide right into the street

the cars are made of modern art
and streak into oblivion
the buildings reek of dollar bills
and gothic architecture

tenants fill the marble floor
poured out of a box of crackers
wiggling around in a hornets nest
of green-card carrying cabbies

the rain doesn’t care to discriminate
it opens fire on everyone
in leather hats and shoes and coats
and uniform umbrellas

this city is a network of gutted intestines
in piles and puddles of buildings
I kick the doors in their teeth
and laugh as I walk
into the barrel of a smoking gun

Four A.M.

I’ve been with you since the collapse
when the earthquake shook up the dust
and we were intimate

since the sirens went off
and your alarm clock scattered
your eyes were shades of gray
behind a morning cup of coffee
the blades of grass were shaking off the dew
and gasping for breath

I’ve been with you since we fell apart
and melted in a flash flood
while our bodies caved in
in colors and shades

as you stumble out of bed
and I mumble weary nonsense
somehow I just know we’ll be okay
but now I’m lying here in the
cold sweat of a nightmare
and you’re gone

Guest Room

I’m standing on the corner
of a dilapidated house
it’s ten forty-seven
in a small Kansas town

wind is whipping through the grass
like it could tackle a bear
I’ve got a ladybug in my hand
on a crisp winter night

the stars are showing off
there are more lights than space
between them
trains are passing through
like an army of giants

I’ve got a bad knee
so I sit instead of crouch
let the bug crawl from my
hand into the grass

he stands on a single blade
in the stillness of the moment
until the wind picks up again
and then he’s gone

carried with the dust into the darkness
past the dim abandoned house
where the goat froze to death
where the cats fought and starved
inside the crawlspace

I’m standing by a porch light
watching a spider fight the wind
holding on for its life to a
collapsing web

I’m shaking from the cold
hanging on with the spiders
taking in the weight
of every moment

inside the baby’s crying
the dog sleeps on the carpet
the staircase seems too steep
for me to climb

to get to someone else’s bedroom
in someone else’s house
452.7 miles from home

Super 8

it’s too hot to sleep
and the ghosts out on the street
are telling stories about
Chinatown
morphine drips and Super 8’s

I could walk from here to Paris
on a bridge of restlessness
flickering like a neon sign
of a silhouetted cowboy
twitching like an electrician
blindfolded and drunk

the pavement is asking to be
pounded
the skies are waiting to be born
the ghosts out on the street
walk through the doors
and disappear
and I’ll destroy the night from
waking every hour

Kids In New York

alphabet city brats
kicking a ball at the building steps
with no backyard to speak of

spitting racial slurs and swearwords
in a dozen different languages
ignorant of politicians,
social injustice, and starvation

lost between the culture
and the gentrification
squeezed out like a splinter
just as easily forgotten

I can’t imagine what it’s like
being a kid in a big city
feeling lost and overwhelmed
or maybe just inconsequential

ten-year-olds with packs of smokes
and dirty magazines
filled with adolescent dreams
begging to be trampled

future suicidal actresses
with bathtubs in their kitchens
pushed around like a shopping cart
at a bulletproof liquor store window

born into a hoodrat world
raised by a generational curse
handcuffed to a folding chair
swinging from the end of a noose

good luck, kids