After the Burn

Bukowski met a Dutchman
at a Philly bar in the 40’s.
The seventy-something sat
with a straight, broad back
and cracked three raw eggs
into each pint he drank.

Bukowski, a frail, twenty-something
virgin, felt afraid in the Dutchman’s
presence, this seventy-something,
still strong, a working man,
a dying breed, although immortal
now, thanks to the sickly little
man with a funny name. The difference
between each like that of starvation
and anorexia, one true, the other contrived.

It don’t matter
what it is,
whether fear or desire,
or absence,
as long as it’s real,
the flame that is.

An Encounter

In 2013 I saw burning streets

and violence natural and unnatural,

a city on fire.

I helped a man as old

as the three digit temperature

up the subway stairs

on my way to work

and each step took

ten heart beats.

The sweat became

our salvation as his charcoal

face sagged and showed no emotion.

His shaking cane gave no support

so I took his arm and led him above

steaming concrete into aching light.

I expected gratitude and received

none, which was better somehow

I walked through solidifying heat

and desired to keep the encounter

secret in order to appreciate

its value and yet I ruined

it by bragging in casual conversation

w/ a wealthy customer.

Just like that it didn’t matter

anymore like everything else

out in the open

smoldering under

our city’s setting sun.

humanity within

That man sees beyond
this passing train as he holds
his son's restless hand 
fingering for tomorrow.
 
A moment we sit
in, staring in,
thru ruins, pounded gray 
pavement, crumbled red
brick, black
asphalt 
 
canyons children cannot escape
from unless in death. 
 
That man's eyes, no less
darker than the altered 
ground from which his boy
will grow,
are blind to mine
 
as I see myself standing
in his place
amidst a decayed city
grasping onto the limb
of an invisible sapling.

Our Future as Unromantic Tramping

Communication sent between colors

has no meaning. Meanwhile, you yearn

for purpose amidst plaster safe-havens.

The children fall asleep in city streets

and dream green and brown covered

in red and blue, anxious for the day

that all they have to worry for is starvation.

Which will be the first for your sepulcher?

Exposure or drugs or any other unclean

invader of your sterility? And yet you crave

the sick man sitting only two amputated feet

away, smiling around others also in pain,

knowing running in the light is more tedious

than nothingness. Yearning for that instant

of beautiful survival.