3 NYC poems

If The Fire Is Not In Your Apartment

If you get crushed in New York City
that’s your own problem.
careful where you step and cross
we’ve hailed taxis through the lava
to traverse a cold street
occasionally, stopping to dream
on benches or church steps
anywhere with shade.Through the walls, I hear the opera stop
and down below, soon,
the hydrants will burst open
check your palm on the door
The fire is not in your apartment
It’s everywhere elseBe forever patient
crawling through the smoke
your building was built
to withstand the bombings

but no planes dropped letters
the only mail you got
in your small PO box
were notices, maybe from Hell

so leave.
leave the perfect angels in the radiators
leave the kingdom of blue-ball mice in the walls
all thousand generations of them
leave the graphitti of your neon-non-children
and your neighbor screaming out the schedules of
alternate side and third rail alive

slide through the tunnels
crossing beneath the water
come up in the swamps of New Jersey
you, a random tetrapod,
looking for lost turnpike coins
in the slot between the seat
and the floorboard

the ocean, still rumored,
lays ahead



got drunk on your birthday
got full of weird light on tuesday

and again on All Saint’s Day
whenever that is
god is in a bad band
that gets booked wherever we’re drinking
his angels drown us out
bathed on stage in hot pink light
this smoke machine spells your name
up towards all the gooey stars
beyond the roof
the sky got less lame
got behind on the rent
got a worse car
got a battery for the fire alarm
all the words I know to all the best songs
are the wrong lyrics
when you tell me the right ones
I no longer like the song
update: sobered up on my birthday



I’ve dropped my phone a million times
but it all worked out
this case is made
to protect me from the cults
of the famous and the dead
Buy Now With One Click.
It’s too windy in the valley
between remaining metal mountains
I search every alcove
and brick lined alley
for the man selling used books
and records and sometimes photos
that show this city
when it was flat marshland
full of fish and birds
and little else
I settle for bells and tea kettles
in a chinese trading shop
on the east side
where the PA system plays recordings
of musical wind and wolves walking through snow
I know the studio tricks
Forever  am I sorting through
strange racks looking for my next plain black wool coat
The maps of this city are dissolved
the phone booths
and the crime are gone
“It’s considered good luck to dream
of an eggplant on New Year’s Day,”
a woman says, walking in the store
with snow not in her hair.
Out on the street, the silver truck arrives
selling hot coffee and falafel
and fried rice
and Belgium waffles
I do not hover. I take the subway
beneath us all is another city
peeking up from the drains


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