Blind man walking down the street,
You don’t see the ones you pass–
And they don’t seem to,
See you either.
The World Weight
There are ordinary days
That float in
like the rest.
But there is a certain pressure
To these ordinary days-
A trigger, a response, a jolt.
The jolt makes you cry
At things that seem
To have nothing to do with you.
Like when my friend used the N word
And I didn’t think he used it anymore.
The thought that love can last forever
Or that I may die young
Or that the world is missing
What we’re supposed to be getting
That we’re making it hard
When it’s supposed to be easy.
It’s a weight I carry around
And I don’t know where it comes from.
It’s the worlds issues,
But on these ordinary days
They are given to me.
They are heavy.
So heavy at times,
That I am unable to walk.
There are two things people ask you
When they meet you for the first time.
What is your name?
What is it that you do?
I dislike these questions
They don’t actually reveal too much
about who we are.
Our name says something about our parents.
Our job says something about the world.
I have my grandmothers name
And now I’m unemployed.
Should we keep talking?
Quiet New York
No one talks
of the quiet New York
But there is one,
If you’re awake.
There’s one right now,
It’s drizzling outside
Rain that as the night assembles
Will surely turn to snow.
And behind that curtain
of a Wintery mix
Is shy pavement
And reserved red bricks.
The crazies are out, sure
I hear one yelling now,
But it’s fleeting.
Soon, the pavement again.
Night pavement, wet pavment,
And all the quiet that brings.
Quiet New York is as impressive as
the City loud.
It’s the quiet you hear
When you watch a dog sleep
Belly up, belly down.
And even more loud,
When you watch a street light change colors at night,
And no car is stopped beneath it.
It’s that type of quiet
That I hear now,
And when I go home
And they ask me how it was
I’ll say it was New York,
You know, really quiet.
The Old Man With Grocery Bags
There’s something about old men
With grocery bags,
That gets me every time.
This one favors his right leg as he teeters past
Carrying 70 or 80 years of life in those bags
They are dangling,
pointed edges sometimes hitting his calf.
His cloudy eyes aimed forward,
but he isn’t looking at anything.
I can see then what he doesn’t see,
Not objects, not limits, not anything named.
He doesn’t have to, to do what he does.
What he sees is what the world is missing
But it’s unlikely we’ll slow down.
You can see his limp
Is the pendulum that carries him
Until he is no more,
Until the sidewalk ends.
It doesn’t matter what’s in the bags,
That’s what he tells me with his gaze,
And then I see it,
Myself in old men like that
But equally looking for purpose
In a world that doesn’t seem to need us.
In a long Manhattan apartment
There is a whole wall of windows,
The good kind.
The floor to ceiling kind.
And we all know how much
Sick kids like their windows.
The big red building
Across the street, with grungy
Isn’t as modern as this one
So you have to examine their lives
With a careful kind of measure
But the people with nothing to do,
Are the people who see everything.
In the third window up,
Are unstraightened white blinds.
And in the corner sill sits the shape of a ginger bread man,
Orange and fluffy.
Waving at me.
That tells me someone in 3c
Has a sesne of humor.
So I wave back
And I don’t feel alone.
What It Was Like
What was the public school like?
Above ground pool depressing or TV’s in fine restaurants depressing
Above ground pools.
What was home life like?
Old man in graveyard depressing or graffiti spelled wrong depressing
Old man in graveyard.
What’s the local news like?
Oil spill depressing or Britney Spears haircut depressing
Britney Spears haircut.
And the holidays?
Halloween decorations in general depressing or dead christmas tree on the street depressing
What was getting older like?
Moving out of an apartment depressing or Boston weather depressing
What was your first place like?
Sports paraphernalia as decoration depressing or bed with no fitted sheet depressing
No fitted sheet, and also a lot of sports paraphernalia.
What was state school like?
Poor grammar easy or people who say “What Can i Do you for” easy?
What was finding God like?
Born again christian blinding or priests misbehaving blinding.
Born again I guess. I just saw what he was,
What was burying your dog like?
Dogs at the pound depressing or dogs in dresses depressing
Every. Dog. At. The Pound.
In the Second After You Blink, Everthing
on fall mornings in new orleans
i watch the dog unsuccessfully chase flies
and i weigh the differences between right and wrong
supposedly this is getting older
this is what adulthood brings
i remember very clearly
what right and wrong were in childhood
sharing right stealing wrong
hugging right hitting wrong
i find now the difficulty in growing up
is that all the lines that were drawn for us
diagramming everything we needed to know
fade like driveway chalk
with certainty, the diagram has changed
there are things you do for money
things you don’t for pride
and none of these things can be taught to children
as soon as you began to draw them out
the wind would take it like meaningless sediment
i’m left with chalk in my left hand
and that feeling you get, when you’re not all together behind a decision you’ve made
in my right.
i think of childhood all the time now
how gone it is
how the leftovers are there,
an untapped oil reserve
something to protect and remember
impossible to clench
should it be sad?
it feels like it should be sad
sometimes it is
but the fact that i can blink my eyes
and my entire life
is in the second gap leftover
after they open
tells me there is no past at all
Bulky Television Sets
Train Conductors Hats
In the 20th Century
Were a little funny
But I think kids looked up to them,
Wouldn’t be opposed to it as a life choice.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Now it’s two thousand and something
And as an adult it’s funny to see
The same conductors in their stiff hats
And serious faces.
Do children still aspire to be that?
Or has the same change occurred
for children’s dreams
as bulky TV sets
That you see on the side of the road now.
No one sets them out anymore
Out of charity.
“Do we throw it in the pond?”
The meadow-maker asks his wife,
Afraid of environmental issues
And the trashing of radioactive batteries.
He holds up too a bundle of phone chargers
and foam head sets from the 90’s.
Shiny crinkling boots,
And you can tell he takes this very, very seriously
Something an older brother
may make fun of him for,
But he feels pride in the uniform,
And it doesn’t matter he’s tall
And isn’t good at basketball.
Does anyone else get nervous when he holds his hand out?
Once a cop followed me
For 15 minutes
And I had done nothing wrong
But had thought of 75 stories to get out of whatever he had on me.
He turned off before me
And I sped home.