Month: March 2014

my next-door neighbor was a bully…

and like most bullies,

he had no taste

for the unexpected.

i remember

halloween ’83,

we were in the midst of

one of many short-lived cease-fires,

when a big guy in a rubber fright mask

jumped out of an alleyway

and started chasing us.

even as the fall air

gushed

flaming into my lungs

it amused me to see him

running beside me.

i remember

reaching our respective doorways.

his mom was waiting outside.

“Call the cops!” he screamed. “Some guy is after us!”

Then he started to cry.

the dude in the mask
didn’t know it
and probably wouldn’t care,

but he’d shown me something

quite profound

that day.

 

evacuees from a snapshot…

a faded polaroid
with a
faded center.

just boys then
hiding in the stairwell,
proud of the No Loitering sign
visible behind them.

they were really only there
for a cup of coffee.

I

look for them sometimes,

they were like

living

firecrackers

and I find myself surprised
when they don’t turn up,

even though
they told me
it’d be this way.

twenty-five years and the chaos of a box.

you might as well have

shook a bag of marbles,

loosened them in a hurricane,

and tried tracking ’em.

it’s random

and

it’s cruel

and

it can’t be

reversed.

tore-up and noble doing it

we knew him as pinky
and at night
he liked to
drop acid by the tracks
’till the one time
the acid

and the tracks

and the night

joined hands in all the wrong ways.

 

a sleeping arm across the rails
a sleeping arm
waiting
waiting
a rendezvous
as inexorable
as the path of water
on a vertical drop.

afterwards,
there was this glow about him
as he walked the boulevard,
his right sleeve
flopping hollow.

there are places and sins
and sometimes

they take a part of someone
as their own atonement.

no scientist could reckon on this,
but pinky did
and he paid out big
for all of us
that night.