Into the Void
There's a megaphone where my voice once was -
But only the siren.
Every plea parts the throng
Though I've been nowhere for months.
The parents are always already asleep,
While we are out back lighting fires
And playing 'truth or dare,'
The Truth is always Gehenna,
And the Dare is to be always already aflame.
Ode To Drugs or Ode To Excess
Coffee is so loud on the body
Pot settles in
Liquor makes the drinker sad
The lottery is slim
Cigarettes take your breath away
Ex leaves you grim
Sleep steals away the day
Diets wear you thin
Acid flashes without consent
Sunlight stains the skin
Time will leave you old and grey
The earth will fold you in.
-West Philly Porch 2019
Homage to Dorothy Parker
Millennial Academia II
And Oh! the green lawns of Manicuria, the regular haircuts!
Hard-wood humid dance parties.
The stately mantlepieces.
And Oh, these genitals all!
Proper genitals licking the corners of pink moist mouths.
We simply speak for the best of us. We
Speak the suckling of imperial wit here.
There’s room for everyone here who’s known the nape of daddy’s whiskey driven tennis practice.
The Main Line, Pa, 2019
3 Letters Abroad
I'm still here, Love,
While you're off,
Being off somewhere warm.
December is extra handsome this year.
I'm proud of you, Love, but
1. Is Paradise a jello mold we're both stuck into, me here
and you there?
2. Can you remind me what you taste like?
Have you returned yet from scouring the globe for Eden?
I hope you're home
where you are.
I was expecting a return letter
with dirt and tears and
I can wait.
North Philadelphia, 2017
I was wondering who "Jo" was, whether
It was a boy or a girl.
I am Jo and
I am neither.
Well as long as you pay me, I
Don't care what you are.
Northwest Philadelphia, 2016
Wrinkled and Dignified In a Busy Restaurant
In spite of how you've
slowed in old age,
the delicate glass
clumsily from your fingers
as eager as ever.
-Let lax the fists in your chest.
-Unbraid your belly.
-That insufferable lack of respite!
-Unfurl the furlier parts of your leg and neck, then begin.
-That foot ain't gonna rub its own worries out!
-Listen. You oughta eat a sandwich daily.
-Go home every time you move.
-Wish for love on every eyelash.
-Drink every soul that shines like that.
East Passyunk 2014
Thanks to Poetry
the last memory of my fading father has begun taking inventory of the thousand words its
when the image begins to blur at the edges and fray,
I can stick these words into
to maintain the illusion
that some things never die.
The Bronx, 2016
I'll feel you when the rain comes,
I'll listen for you on the breeze,
And someday soon I'll be singing you with my own voice,
just as soon as I catch my breath.
The Bronx, 2017
Now is not the time to take time,
Now is the time to time time:
You can make time to take time -
But there is no time to make time to take time now.
West Philadelphia, 2014
Spaces for old mustachioed men to go and get sad.
I couldn't resist the sight.
My skin is sagging noticeably under my chin
And my upper lip itches of bourbon.
Ah my fellow fellow!
Something sinister awaits you under that split-flap Clock-
If you've got the time to sink that far.
One can spend a lifetime here underground.
The Clock has started to remind me of my mother.
One is discouraged from leaping in front of trains.
University City, 2013
Uniforms at Work
I rinsed an apple for a child who walked into the market, barefoot.
"Thank you, Ma'am."
Then the Apple rolled over, revealed its face, and winked.
I wondered where the child's parents had run off to, smirking.
'You're very welcome.'
The next guest,
Drenched in himself,
Coughed a nasty nasty cough.
The Apple hid its face once more in the child's hands.
North Philadelphia, 2014
on your way
to listen to the universe sway,
West Philadelphia, 2016
I awoke from childhood in a college dorm.
But it was just a dream I hadn't already forgotten.
Last night was tarot cards and whiskey in our summer apartment.
Luke read in his hand that a cataclysm was all but certain and
that he ought to consider sharing his feelings
with that special someone.
We felt no desire to wash the dishes that were groping their soggy way out of the kitchen sink.
Fruit flies billowed out in a flittering cloud as I lurched groggily over the dishes to espresso myself awake.
- Drosophila Melanogaster -the fruit flies-
their species name became a song I sang every morning with a side of jelly toast –
I welcomed them,
I fed them the sticky residual rings of mixed drinks from every last night. Peach Schnapps.
Sudden study of Biology - the murderous subject!
Discarding tiny heap after tiny heap of drugged out drosophila into a petri-dish to meet their soapy doom -
but not before ascertaining their genetic breakdown for science:
- Eye color: 3/4 devil red, 1/4 purgatory white –
Come summer, I was done with death and
I made it law:
No one is to squish, swat, squash, wash away or do any violence of any kind to these benevolent guests. I was still drunk from the most recent night before.
There was no fruit in the apartment.
The subway stung my nose of urine in puddles and someone was smoking a cigarette on the platform. It was July, and hot.
The woman sitting next to me was a waitress. She spoke suddenly into my shoulder:
You ever have these before? [She handed me an obscenely orange tiny plastic bottle]
I'm a waitress, so I work 12-hour days & I -
Well I don't drink the whole thing, just this much. [Glug.]
I got on the train, and didn't see the waitress again.
I swore this was my last styrofoam cup, paper sleeve and plastic top I would ever send to a landfill.
I wasn't sure if I even enjoyed my coffee.
The man next to me drunk from a “Giant-Gulp” – the straw made a hollow squeak as he neared the bottom.
He suckled the last bits and dropped the cup at his feet where he sat
for someone-else to find.
His eyes were hollow. The advertisement on the subway wall ahead of him was for a slick plastic cell phone.
The events that followed have been described as our "Neo-Sincerity-Hipster-Cliche-Post-College Adventure."
-A baby blue minivan.
-Our degrees worth little more than the swank paper on which they were printed.
We were burning - the four of us.
We were certain.
We believed in believing in believing in
The threat of being ordinary
prickled our skin like dried sweat.
It seemed there was nothing we couldn't shake.
Society is a myopic cyclops
and we are
scurrying under its nose in sheep-skins.
Haverford College, 2013
Show me this street, please,
Without a single atom for granted
humbly burst at the seams of my Self
Spontaneous, all over the sidewalk.
But today I have a headache from my nose always between my eyes
And Skull and me have an understanding, which
Precludes Street's unhurried tune
Too sincere for my time-lapse mind
And I'm too tired today of always being in the wake of my own careening
So I begin slinking toward my favorite illusion
When suddenly, I am rung
By a most improbable Them,
- all magnitude -
Smiling their poem straight at me.
Center City Philadelphia, 2015
Appiary Magazine's YouthQuake @ The Monkey & The Elephant, January 2017
Sun Drunk: Show & Tell @ Crime and Punishment, May 2017
Story Slam @ Elixr Coffee, February 2019
Story Slam w/ IGWBT Theatre Company, February 2021