Note: Written in July 2017.

One is not too late, I declare, palming
the mason jar. When did they start using these
in Queens? No matter. A big day ahead,
traversing Hudson for brain music.
Friday night seems shiny until it’s dull
past twelve and you’re in Sunnyside again,
reaching for how it was five years ago
when you were thin, young, and poor, rice a meal
and ten-buck sushi so infrequently
it tasted like heaven. Brooklyn now is
a betrayal but convenient. You can’t do Queens
because old memory lives only there
in the mind of the new one. So settle
for Kings, trends, and rent hikes. Let memory ruin
and keep a pocket free if it returns.


Note: Written in March 2013; revised slightly.

“Why does this car look like a dark bedroom
in college?” yowls the denim man
clad in boots, a cowboy in the rain.
His gal, a fishnet prize, raises a finger
to shush his lips, aching of gin and pizza.

He’s right. The F train’s bulbs have gone in spots.
A shadow umbrella keeps the rider dry
from peeking too close at dimples,
moles and hair sprouts. It’s Reagan Hall
dorm 224 again — without the blondes
that made it fun. Without the contraband
in drawers. Without the half-moon window view
that once allowed a gaze to trees
in traffic circles and snow.

Midnight and crushed rain upon your coat
are all you own. Recall the fierce catches
in tavern smoke, the vinegar, the scrapes.
It’s all stretched miles from here,
gone like a dust of snow by morning.

You scan all faces always for a sliver
of remembrance, a flame to light your
memory halls. Your neck bounces as steel
rail hits sharp like dangling ice
and the morning seems a promise, for once.
Drink the moment deep as memory.
Swig from now and swallow with a chase.

A weekend is a freckle on a cheek,

a constellation down the nose, a waterfall

of hair straight down the back. An itch that won’t

quit. A sleep outside on porches and

rank docks with fatherly stars kissing goodnight.

A power outage in the raging heat.

Three years that zip marauding as dark droogs

past memory and fond recollection

to steal. The bottle prices up a dollar,

the music cringeworthy, the faucet leaking

scents you’ll never shake – the twist of heartbreak

in a daze of teenage mock heroics.

I’d drink the lot again and balk at consequence

the way time permits for a mere freckle.