Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Argument with the Muse

Argument with the Muse I kept telling the title to say or write "Journey," but it kept coming up "Daughter." Then, amazingly or not so amazingly, it explained that there was an entire story before the story and that it wanted to talk about "daughter." I thanked it, gave it some hot chocolate, and said, "Okay." "You talked the talk. Now walk the walk - my fingers across the keyboard according to your most comprehensive wisdom." It said, "Another day, dear," slurped the rest of the hot chocolate, burped, and went silent. Fine, I thought. See if I let you play with the words of another title. Just..see.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015



I still see them
in their chairs
on the sidewalk
No one minds.
In casual summer clothes,
they unfurl
the state of the city,
the country, the planet
but always return
to the Bronx.

Mrs. Resnick's son
moved to Florida.
Something with medical law.
The Anastasios' daughter
went, of all places,
to Utah.
"Is that still in the USA?"
one of the ladies jokes.

The Zoo now costs
ten dollars.
Once it was free.
Most of them
save with care.
There's a bargain
at Olinsky's:
chicken for 70 cents
a pound.

The massive stonework
near the building
somehow protects them,
even though
they're outside it.
Down through years,
their New York voices
rise in a circle
of raucous, happy sound.

Like a talisman
wrought from words,
not Commandments,
they keep me
even now
from a void
worse than harm.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Magic Tiger

Magic Tiger

So you go back
for six months.
We talk
on the phone
or online.
You become
a voice,
an sms.
As we talk,
I envision
your eyes
glinting, jumping,
even changing color
as they will.
Grey to hazel
to golden brown
to almost-blue.

Each city
shadows you
into other worlds:
Lahore, Karachi,
You become
cities, cultures,
languages, houses.

You acquire
and reacquire
accents, gestures,
songs, curses,
movie names.

Perhaps one day
I too will journey
once more
to acquire
to learn

to unbecome
and become

Saturday, August 15, 2015



Felt gently, squeezed partially,
the peach pretends
But its flesh
leans into hard
when cut.

Even sea gulls
give it a miss.

They prefer
salty fries.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Train For Us

A Train For Us

First three notes
of "There's a Place for Us"
from West Side Story
shriek from the 2 train
when it pulls out
of each station.

I wouldn't swear
for certain
that Leonard Bernstein knew.

But hell,
he rode the subway enough.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Frannie's Bed and Breakfast on Muliner

Frannie's Bed and Breakfast on Muliner

I'd serve bagels with lox, cream cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers
and slices of onion (someone else would peel the onion).
Sour pickles.
Whitefish, herring.
Cheese danish, breakfast buns.
Fresh squeezed orange juice.
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate.
New York Times in print
to spread over the table
in sections.

Then I'd take guests
to sit on the Parkway.
Later, we'd take the train
all the way to Queens
and then the 44 bus back
so they could sparkle
into rivers of light
over the Whitestone.

To bed,
removing cabbage rose
cotton spreads
on white cotton sheets.
 Parkway traffic
would splay shadow monsters
on the walls
until 2 AM.

Good night.
Sleep very tight.
No bedbugs.
Open window.
Wind from the trees.

A short flight back.
No seat belts.
Just mind-years.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

To The Dear One Who Came With Me To Pelham Parkway

To The Dear One Who Came With Me To Pelham Parkway

On the same bench
 my mom, grandmother
and great-grandmother
sat, 70 years ago.
(My grandfather didn't have time.)
Old, blessed men
and young ones
played chess
on the same stone
inlaid sets.
The stone benches still
sparkled their metal bits
in the sun.
"This is nice," you said.
"Yes," I agreed.

The train screeched
into the el station
as it had for ninety years.

My mind fashioned
such welcome ghosts
to beckon
before those who sat now
in their place.

I was a fool
for leaving
for staying

and I hated
what was
and was not
so much the same.

Thank you
for being with me

Friday, August 7, 2015

City Island

City Island

Johnny's versus Tony's.
Both hug the end
of the Island.
We go to Johnny's.
We eat our fried sole,
some of the fries,
most of the coleslaw.
Then we take the leftover
french fries
and put them on the ground.
That's all.
Within three seconds
they're gone.
The gulls strut about,
their gullets full.
They stay near the spot
in case the miracle repeats.

We watch them
for a few,
then head out.

The Sound flows
in us,
for the rest
of the day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

City Quiet

City Quiet

To my mom, in memory

Your favorite summer sound
was that of the cicadas
and locusts
skricking at night.
Coming home from a dance
or party
you'd stop and listen.

On the Parkway
late pairs of lovers
sat on the far benches
happily alone.

The 2 train lurched
to a stop
with its trademark

All around,
city quiet,
not silence,
but many sounds
that should not have been
but somehow
ended up
emitting harmony.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Like those who adored
designer clothes
which flashed
but never really worked,
I assumed, pushed explosive
energy into the wrong


Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Names

The Names

Mr. Palmer,
Cecil was not food.
He was friendly
and nodded to people.
You left his cubs
I believe that the earth
is not pleased with you.

The ancestors
of lions
are roaring inside your pillow,
and the night has released
their names.

It would be best
if you crawled outside
your insulated lie/life
and listened.