New man up here, different dead wife. Maroon
blazer because it’s the last day of class
and he gets fidgety in darker colors.
Two pieces down re: grieving, dozens more
unwritten, plagues that stab sleep with brain knives.
There is an audience, not just the pupils
in oxfords before him, pens busy tracing
requiems in stale air, but wider. Brainier.
Literate media and sad sacks in Park Slope
who still can’t pry the gold bands from their mitts.
Go there, chase the venom. I’m bobbing on
the rust-dented A train, drowning in Nils
noodles on “Speakin’ Out.” Not ready for
“Borrowed Tune,” but who can be? Except you.


Recall, Marty, if you will, the night
we stood on a city sidewalk drinking
the brassy coils raining from the student
quartet before us, the young jazz buffs.

And us, the bluffs, young too but learning it
the way toddler learns to speak: by listening,
turning over cadences in her head
then finally spitting back the vowels she’s fed.

Years lost now, Marty. We’re the old men.
Your down payment all but locked, my salary
shimmying upward. New friends, Django for
us both. Different cities. Streets diverge.

But horn players still storm hot wind each June
where you are. Chameleon in your car.
Me? Sidewinder at work. Down in the tunnels,
rhythmic circle bumping blue. You’d love it.