Morning glories ever

Speak to me of Brooklyn

Beauty is scrappier there, ad hoc

Can bolt along a fence

On any washday Monday,

Catch-breath blue.

Or sometimes it is rose of sharon

Dusty weary, standing watch

Over masterpieces in sidewalk chalk.

Brooklyn beauty, yes

Scrappy, sudden.

And have you also heard

The single-noted song?

That open question

In the creak of a brownstone gate

Far down the clock at night?


RRC 2017







Once when you were old

I saw you red-hatted

Late on a Sunday night

Smack center

In a cluster of teenage boys,

a dozen or so

They, like blackbirds

When the pie was opened –

Chirping youthful

On the uptown A

You, white, female, round

Incongruous silent.

They, all muscles and shine

Flash and sass.

At 125th  all spill out

Fill the platform with squawking

Swoosh up the stairs on the wing

You, carried aloft.

How are you not flattened in the shear?

But you fly up with them, a spec of red hat

Embedded, and shooting them — all the while

A cell phone video

Feather, beak, eye

Bird fancier in a red hat.

Did you capture it?

Youth? Sleek and flightful.

To remember it

That time when you were old?













Boys sitting on sidewalks in this city,

Very still with pit bulls.

Not boys really, but young men.

The corners are dotted with sidewalk sitters

White usually, pale,

Sitting with pits,

Brindle, some sable, or fawn.

The boys, young men really,

set placards before the dogs

Help! Dog Needs

Surgery, Medicine,  a Biopsy.

Only tourists believe them.

The glistening coats and clear eyes

Of the dogs belie the petitions.

The pit bulls stretch in all weathers

Alongside the young men, or mope at their feet

Looking bored, immeasurably bored.

Or maybe depressed, inheriting the depression

Of the stalled young men,

Trapped on sidewalks by their want.

Of what?  Imagination, work, love?

It rubs off on me too, this pale-man/bored-dog gloom.

So I dream them something.

At moon’s night, in my dream

They rise in packs and run

Riotous through city parks, hearts pumping thumping.

Boys and ember-eyed pits,

chests forward, glint fanged, sharp nosed

Running down rats, ghosts,

Running down answers.

I dream them laughing, growling,

Barking, swearing, swaggering,

Four feet and two, four hundred and two hundred

Pounding down the midnight paths.

I say this prayer

May all the sidewalk sitters

Rise and run, warriors of a summer green.

Or circle bonfires in snowdrift winter,

Feast, drink, boast, sing while smoke curls up

Into the black limbs of trees.

I dream them, dog and youth, buck wild but never still.


RRC 2017