failure and acceptance

every whitewash splash dousing light intense center cube

how they keep you in order to observe

eavesdropping on lonely creatures with company

make a serious commitment to be in love with death

conjure it

the tarnish of a forgotten stone

getting there is lost

let go of your star seed you can’t see the same shadows

and outlines of color of the other

every act of will

every repentance

every movement

is in memory of what never was

projects projecting

sitting on a metal bench with hands clenched
without anything inside on the speeding SEPTA
train Broad street line traveling north destination
Dauphin Susquehanna Station there’s something about the old pale man
shaking his cane across from me mumbling about the weather
reciting incantations in order to halt the impending snowstorm
my stomach is an empty shell
my head a cauldron
my chest deflated
“this journey can only end badly” I think
the disembodied female voice names my stop
I get out and even the station is falling apart puddles of rusty water
decaying walls slowly dying trudging humans inanimate death
everywhere and above ground
is no better I’m not used to this land
I walk up Broad two blocks while chewing gum and looking back
trying to find the skyline it’s not the same
I’m in a different world North Philly I’m fine with being
the only white person around got nothing to hide not even my skin
once I get to Cumberland I make a right and pass the auto body shop
filled with broken cars and only two men fixing them they look at me vacantly
most are abandoned get ready for everything abandoned
razor-wire on all fences dark red row-houses not homes
dark red decaying spaces
the corner of 13th street is oppressive w/ 4 story toppling warehouses empty
like everything else
a man walks toward me diagonally with a trash bag
now I’m afraid I’m not used to human contact
he stares and somehow sees me thru the wasteland
a man picking up bottles there are too many to pick up
too many punctured mattresses and plastic bags in vacant lots
piles and mounds of trash where does it come from there are so little humans
only trash
I only look back for so long now I’m underneath an overpass it’s dark and the hill is ominous
the bridge is green and I can’t hear any traffic there’s ice and black snow from weeks ago
all around and it’s nowhere else in the city only here with all the trash
how long is this gray wall
more abandoned lots and vacant buildings why am I here I should turn back I will turn back I’m lost
no I can only go ahead
tall boarded up buildings but now in different colors it’s beautiful a cat leaps down
the steep front stoop and stairs and comes toward me it’s pure white and it’s an omen it disappears underneath
another block I look down the street it’s taped off
there is a big dark stain in the asphalt only 20 feet away
nothing else
I walk faster a parked car there’s parked cars around now I walk and now I hear people
I’m happy to hear people but when I look
they see me as something else and I don’t want to intrude I’m sorry
I’ll just keep my head down
I see the high rises many stories tall brown and uniform there are two of them
parallel buildings I know exactly what they are at first sight
the projects projecting oppression
looming over me now but also over everyone else living here on every other day
I’m afraid but I don’t show it
I wish I could peer into this desolate landscape

but I can feel the stares

I want to hide my skin so I just keep walking eyes down seeing broken

pavement all of a sudden out of my peripheral there are children speaking violently with pre-pubescent and adolescent voices

they’re saying that they’re strapped are they talking to me I keep my pace

I feel the bullet pierce my back in microseconds
don’t look

am I dead it’s only imaginary why is it imaginary am I imaginary why
I don’t belong here no one does

Tracing Emptiness

Release trepidation

when crossing

splintered

wooden beams

spaced three feet apart

at the rusty

trestle bridging nowhere to never-ending

nowhere, in the small town I grew up in

next to the now abandoned city of my father,

at the site of a childhood

beating by an older boy with a 2 x 4.

 

Was it by chance that the nails protruding from the wood

were bent? Was it strange how I noticed, while raising

my bloodied hands in defense, how his weapon

matched the setting?

 

Years later,

the same splinters

tore through love

and fatherly flesh

via PCP disguised as weed.

This Flame Consumes Water

Yes, I am one who wastes far too many

of my sparse thoughts on the daily mundane,

so who am I to offer remedy

for beauty sprouting seemingly from plain

brown eyes? I watch as you try to get high

off residue, and you, my love, are far

from pathetic. Our flame is dignified

while licking cannabis in lieu of water.

Your tepid tongue intertwines with mine and

the ashes of my flesh combine with spit,

creating words I never thought I’d send

from my mind let alone my mouth and it

feels good, us. We felt good, we’re still good

at times, yet our mouths have been filled with blood.

To Human Beings

This is one of many colors

that cannot be seen.

How cliche’ it is that

everything is a mystery.

 

It makes me sad when

she looks at me;

I see our would-be

ruby’s eyes.