White Tents on Mulberry

7:37 am on Mulberry Street. September 20 or 21, 2012.
Some days it’s hard to know what day it is.

San Genarro should be over, but the street is still lined with white plastic tents; every block the same variety of arepas and elote, airbrush tattoos, plastic fruit magnets, and cannoli.

Friday morning in New York feels like the day after something. Belle and Sebastian are playing in the cafe behind me, and I am undergrad, cigarette on 34th street, ironic, desperate.

How does music do that? How do fried Oreos and zeppolies do that? When was the last time I called my mother?

Not much happens before 8 o’clock in the morning, but everything could happen, which is what the man in the smoothie tent seems to be hoping for, awake and ambitiously blending fruits that will separate into pulp and water soon.

The man with a cigarette addresses the man locking his bicycle. He responds. “I just wanted to be able to get where I wanted like that.” He snaps his fingers and I know what he means.

I wonder how often we are responding to something else. “I’m a Cuckoo” floats out of the window behind me. A bag of sand split and spilt itself onto the street next to a leather bracelet tent. It must have happened last night. Or the night before.

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While I Wait

“I’m doing well, but I’ve started smoking again.
Being home, you know?
Linda hasn’t changed.”

I shouldn’t be listening to table 73
for snatches of conversation I can use to
write poetry, but it feels like
we are serving each other that way.

A bird eats a pad thai noodle below
table 76, and I make a grocery list
on old receipts.

Kale
Carrots
Coconut oil
Anchovies
Lemons
Sweet potatoes
Brussel sprouts
Almonds
Coconut milk
Bananas
Cilantro
Kim chi

“Is there a wait for a table out here?”

The woman with oversized sunglasses and an Hermes bag
stands very close to me and smells like a dream.
We survey the small outside cafe together.

“Hm, all of the tables are full,
so I guess there is a little bit of a wait, huh?”

I don’t get paid to be an asshole. But sometimes
the customers want to be shepherded. They’ve had
a hard day. I try to be gentle

when I repeat their words back to them,
when I remind them that what they ordered is not,
nor has it ever been on our menu.

Suddenly I am aware that
I have not shaved my legs in at least
a week and am wearing a knee length skirt.

“So Linda said, “Well, couldn’t you just miss the meeting?”
I mean, everything is fine, but she doesn’t get it. And
work is really taking off, you know? Finally.”

It would be hard not to listen. He is speaking to
all of us. There is a ring of spicy coconut soup
on my shirt from trying to carry too many bowls
at one time.

I fill up water glasses, grab empty chopstick
wrappers and dirty napkins. The sun is just
starting to sink behind the New York Film Academy,
while a lady at table 75 feeds the small dog in her purse
pieces of salmon sashimi.

I make a to do list after taking 83’s order.

Read Ashbery packet for lit. class
Critique poems for workshop and
Send thank you note to the Wasko’s
Buy Miriam root beer
Call mom
Write a poem

The shift is just about over.

Table 73 wants their check.
His Parliaments are out on the table.
Linda wouldn’t understand
and I’m not waiting for their tip.

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Police Report Wednesday

Walking home on 14th street I wonder
If every poet
Loves Duane Reade the way that I do.

When I head south on 4th Avenue, against my better judgement, I check my phone to see who hasn’t called.

The light changes, a silver car crushes a black motorcycle, and the girl on the back of the bike is now on her back near the bike.

Calling 911 is a favorite pastime of mine, and making sure everyone is okay, even if they are not, is sort of like serving a dinner someone else made.

I am used to lifting heavy things, and making the calls, so I feel the air less static as I move away from the hive of sirens.

It is another thing we can talk about. How car accidents remind me of my own mortality. I am so young. I wonder if every poet has a knack for finding the wounded.

By Alphabet City, I have forgotten how close to death we all are. Tompkins is lamp lit, overrun with rats, and lovely as a dream. It’s hard to think about death

When all I do is live here. My eyes ache. My feet are sore from the walking. I want to buy shampoo and gum and yes, flavored water.

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9:03, Wednesday. La Colombe iced coffee, sharing a table with three beautiful Germans (Austrians?)

Two hours ago I was picking these sweatpants out in the dark of my room.

Twelve years ago today I was just starting to believe in the News.

The places I’ve been come back to me in Edith Piaf on shuffle or they show up cow licked and smiling at my work place.

9:08 Wednesday, but it feels like Monday. I keep wanting to say, so much has happened, but the water is still rising.

This is the hardest way to stop smiling. I am lighter without what was lost. Tompkins Square Park is full of parents and there smaller selves on scooters, bicycles, leashes.

The town makes a ghost of the people.

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How I put myself to sleep.

I’m more awake than I should be.
No one can make my eyes stand out,
But the moon never lies.

I’ve got lists, and history is coming
Full circle.

Clean the cupboards, fold up the map.
If it isn’t a command, it’s a rocking chair
On a back porch I never had.

Who says spilled oil and means a love poem? Every rainbow is a promise of wet ground.

I want to kiss the mountains you shoulder.

The light above my bed is flickering,
There is a fly making lazy loops near the window.

I remember so much, how to undo a smile; a woman’s hips are not the same as a cello.

I am less like sleeping than everything written, I can’t make my eyes close but the light dims.

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Down the Hudson

There are a thousand ways
To stop a train. I want to unpack
There are a lot of things I want.

This morning fog clung to the darkest parts
Of the Catskills while I dressed
In the same clothes I wore yesterday.

I am listening with a dull face,
Every muscle taut with nonchalance.
I was not made for slow walks;

The stars could not out glow
The yellow moon glare. In the kitchen,
Everything is stainless. The pond is fed

From somewhere. Stretched out on the dock
Still cold with dew, I count the ways I was wrong. This mountain

Unfolds forgetting. My blue dress with
Silver buttons all snapped up is rolled
Into a pillow. I feel metal at the base

Of my neck. Hudson, Rhinecliff, Poughkeepsie, the trees are wrapped in
Vines and pregnant. This is the day that

The river runs through. Coffee with
Cream, windows open. I cannot hear
My own voice when the wind comes.

Posted in Poetry, Summer, travel | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Long Grass In the Woods

I am back at the restaurant where the mirror shattered.

Take me to the sanctuary that you made in me.

I am made in the image of a light switch, an orange rind, a gas can.

I can hardly sleep for fear of dreams. Lord don’t make another fool of me.

I am standing at the fence, watching the horse twitch his ear at a fly.

My window creaks in this new cabin, as if someone is listening to me think.

What if I grow old in a city sinking into the ocean?

Work more often, speak in a flat voice, do not blush, forget the boat.

I am back at the mountain where I got my belly button pierced on the bathroom floor after summer camp.

Blood stretches memory into a feeling.
Do not wish you were anywhere else.

What if there is no hard place, and the fire turns sand into glass?

It is quiet as the locusts, and the wind, no rubber teeth on shale tonight.

In the city, down the mountain, in the city.

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The last few days. @thecutl3rs

It is raining again in Vienna.
I took a late afternoon shower,
and yelled my song above both rains.

Some places feel more like home
if you yell,
or read,
or eat alone.

I’ve never considered myself lucky.
Not like Jason, who was always picking up
soda bottle tops off the ground to find he
had won $40.00 here or a Free Sprite there,

but I do find myself in other countries,
more than my means should allow.
Maybe it was the weather we were born under,
in that old hospital on Staten Island.

Jason is in Naples now.
It is still raining in Vienna.
I won’t make it out to see him yet,
I hardly know how I’ve made it here.

Sometimes I feel more at home when I think of
my brothers, chopping up onions or
rearranging meats on a platter.

Lyndsay has her own way of travelling.
She keeps showing up in places
I’ve never been.

Our parents couldn’t have known
we would leave home,
and miss one another with such
silence.

The rain is slowing against the windows.
I’ve got to head into town to meet friends.
I wonder how my brothers are sleeping,
and if Lyndsay found her way back home.

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On a Thursday

We could start at any moment now.
I’ll try to make this quick.
I’m coming home soon.

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Launch Party for @AEHowardwrites (and free stuff too)!!!

Check out this guest post from A.E. Howard, and make sure to comment on the post to be entered into the raffle at the bottom!

“Sam!” Shadrach shouted. “No time! Get us to Belajar fast!”
Kai looked around bewildered because he didn’t see anyone. Before he could ask Shadrach who he was talking to, a large green grasshopper landed on his shoulder and Kai suddenly felt light, very very light, and discovered his feet were no longer touching the ground.
His stomach gave a lurch, and out of the corner of his eye he saw the girls and Shadrach hanging in mid-air just as strangely. Before he had time to think, the trees became a blur and the only sound was the wind in his ears and his own yell as he was flown through the tree tops, dodging and weaving through branches and leaves. Most of the branches missed him, but the ones that didn’t whipped and lashed at Kai as he was carried along, if carried was the right word for it, a boy of his size being carried by… by a grasshopper? If he didn’t think he was about to be sick, he might have freaked out a bit more about the arrangement.”

So, I like giving magic to creatures that don’t ordinarily possess it. Plus, Sam and company turned out to be super fun to write, even though they don’t have a huge amount of “screen time” as it were. But I think there’s magic in everyday life, and so when I write, possums become powerful sorcerers, and grasshoppers are my fairies. Only, don’t tell Sam I said that, he’d be highly offended. He already had a run in with Kai over an Alice in Wonderland reference Kai made, and now he’s not sure we humans know how to properly tell bug-folk apart.

But that’s a story for another day…

Launch Party Central Post on A.E. Howard’s Blog

http://aehowardwrites.com/2012/07/flight-of-blue-virtual-launch-party

Buy Flight of Blue in paperback: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/tags-on-product/1477666303/ref=tag_dpp_cust_edpp_sa
OR
as an eBook:
http://www.amazon.com/Flight-Blue-Keeper-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B008N5QLT8/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1342820292&sr=1-6&keywords=flight+of+blue

Don’t forget to comment on this post! It enters you to win this….

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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