Another World

Inhaled your smoke on the subway,
Your knees the summits formed
By the mountains of your sloping legs,
Which are slender but cold.
The ash on your fingernails
Dampens pink flesh.
I want to reach over and dust off
Your hands,
Fill them with warmth
That reaches into the core of your marrow
And leaves no vein untouched,
But your eyes are glazed over
The way I remember that clear gel dripping
Over clay before sticking it in a furnace.
Here we stall for time
Between one station and the next,
But in another world
We might be joking about
The advertisements along the top of the car,
How one of them is so striking
And another is so discursive,
Laughing at the faces each other makes
When one points out how
That potted plant looks flaccid
And the other realizes it’s a metaphor.
In another world
We might be living together
As students,
Where the holes in that gray sweater
Hanging loosely around your legs
Are at worst an accident
And at best a memory.
We might have sung together
The joys of being alive
In a tiny apartment far uptown.
I would have played the piano,
And you perhaps a violin
That you love so much to hear,
Curving your lips into a smile
I cannot discern from your face.
I glance at the curls of your dark brown hair,
Imagining how it sways in the wind
As you step off the subway
And disappear around the corner.
All that lingers in the air is the smell of smoke
From the burnt residue
Of another world.

Barbershop Quartet

I refuse to grow old
Yearning for the days of my youth.
Instead, let me sing away the years
In a barbershop quartet
With my closest friends.
We might be worlds away
From one another,
But we will whistle from our hearts
A tune so pristine
It will lull the moon into a
Cornfield slumber.
The songs we choose
Are of our own composition,
Arranged only for us and no one else,
Lamenting the past with doo wops,
Humming the present with hallelujahs,
Welcoming the future with olés.
Our hair will fall out
The way our love never will,
Chins and bellies in rolls of laughter
Through centuries of pacific bliss,
Celebrating our milestones
With the music of our being.
Sing me a song, brother
And let me be your accompaniment.
As long as we have the harmony
Of each other,
I have no need
For the trivialities of youth.

In Writing

I knew I wanted to be a writer
When my best friend slammed a door in my face
And the first thing I did
Was write a letter to apologize.
The night before I told a girl I liked her
I sent her five long texts explaining
That in life you have to take risks
And that I had something to say to her,
But not now, tomorrow,
Which I spent the entire night figuring out–
Words that never made it into the open.
I handed fifteen dollars over to a man
Who told me he needed to buy a train ticket
For his sister,
Whose name he conveniently left out,
And then stalked me for an hour
Until I gave him the money.
I sat in the back corner of a coffee shop
And beat myself up
Because if I wasn’t such a pushover
I would have done something
Instead of waiting until the tragedy passed
To compose a journal entry as an afterthought.

I don’t think writers are weak,
And I don’t think I am weak,
But am I really alive
When I need to put my life to a script to live it?

The Gargoyle

Enraptured in your fire,
I tried to breathe my own.
My darling you’re a dragon,
But I am made of stone.
Our eyes have met in daylight
And yours would dart away, yet
Beneath the shadow of your face
A smile met my gaze.
I slipped and fell a thousand miles
How hard I fell in love!
Then perched upon my windowsill
I waited, watched above.
Your brilliant flame would spark to life
The pupil of the sun,
And gliding on your angel wings
My stoic heart you won.
You drew up closer gracefully
My anticipation grew, but
Before you grazed my stony lips
Above my head you flew.
Each day I settled eagerly
And tried to catch your eye,
Your stare was fixed afar, alas
Whenever you’d come by.
One day you flew with someone else,
A dragon quite like you.
You danced around each other love,
And danced right out of view.
I could not cry or lash at you
Nor did I have the wit,
You revel in your ecstasy
I hold my tongue and sit.
Our eyes would meet again one time,
No smile was my bait.
A dragon’s meant for happiness.
A statue’s meant to wait.

Blame

Why are you angry at me
When I have done nothing to hurt you?
You make me feel dirty
The way you glare
And you make me feel deaf
The way you insist
I am wrong.
Blessed are the holy,
You tell me,
And damned are the wicked.
Define those words
In terms other than
Me, and
You,
And maybe I will agree.