As I burn away leaving me

  the cigarette won’t smoke itself under this almost-moon
so the man in the shadows stands
there holding the orange glow of burning 
that reports the streetlight to the darkness

the smoke reaches from the cigarette
toward the nearest star – the one
the man doesn’t notice as he stands
in the shadows. If there is a question
between them, it remains unasked.

the man continues to smoke
the cigarette until it is done 
the orange glow fades
until only the stars are burning
with questions for the moon.

Hold on

i am an artist

Hence the beady eyes

The constant hunger

For anything

More than food

The crooked nose

The loose middle name

And of course the inability to see

Things the way you do


one day in Philly

i stood in Christ Church Burial Ground
in front of a familiar name
i could not place
how i knew him – or why
i was so moved.

the moss on his headstone
was deep green and older than me
and the accumulation of years
on the stone left the letters
difficult to read

we are not related, I’m sure
except that we are both men
who breathed, who loved,
who wanted and wished and needed
who hoped and tried and learned
who grieved and ached and loved

for that, i sighed,
it is enough to know we’re brothers.

later at the City Tavern
after a pepperpot and some braised rabbit
i knocked back Ben Franklin’s brew
and toasted that stranger’s name
that i’d already forgotten,
“To a life, that it might be remembered.”


bloody things become bloodier
with cracked bones for each idea
with lost shells flying
until they land in flesh

bodies on bodies, death on death
for the sake not of life
but of the possibility of control
man over man

there is no meaning of life
in the midst of revolution
there is only blood
and fear
and loss of humanity.

The absolute truth about eyebrows

Nia Vardalos has two eyebrows
like many people — even Greeks —
above her beautiful eyes.

Most nights, like tonight,
they do nothing but wait there
for the morning to come
and eyes to open.

But some nights, if things are perfect
they twitch and raise and roll
they reach for the sky
and lift the eyes up into a smile that never ends.

I don’t ask Nia if she tweezes
or teases or plucks — I don’t ask
if she knows that beauty is in every follicle
every wrinkle, every whisper.

I just smile.

The Un-Mitigated Symbolism of People

in the bright new days
before the first sunset
i was three boys
without a dinosaur

all the sunlight sang
of yellow trucks — rain knew
only frogs and quiet dancing

in the muddied days
after the sunset
i was less than zero boys
only a dinosaur

where all the moonlight wept
for the losses
piled in moo-less barns
and forgotten

like a broken-legged cow
smelling of Egyptian perfume
— there is no explanation

the frog will leap alone
to or from and there is no knowing
which it was until the yellow truck crashes

What I know about Morocco

I know the capital is Rabat
and somewhere there is Casablanca

Other than that, I know nothing
except that some people there speak french.

I would ask someone,
but who is there to ask?

Even if they knew, why
would they tell me anything
about Morocco?

If they did know, I’m sure
they’d wonder, “Why
does he want to know about Morocco?”

I wouldn’t answer, they wouldn’t understand.
They wouldn’t understand
how I am broken, searching

for answers, and maybe
possibly (who knows)
some of them are in Morocco.

I’m afraid they’ll know
the truth — I am lost
and if there is any hope
it’s possible it’s in Morocco

I’m afraid they’ll know
I’m lying. I’m always lying —
I know I’ll never find myself
in Morocco.

(and that’s the real tragedy)

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