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I was never a very good learner, you know.

But that knowledge never slowed me down.
I latched on to the nooks and crannies,
And I climbed up the pipes that led to your house.

You probably never realized that I was this determined.

You probably never realized how many times
I shrunk, just to try and climb again.
Up into your house...

Will you ever notice me?

I think as I near the top,
The peak of my pitiful achievements.
But the itsy bitsy spider never wins.
Everyone knows how this fairy tale ends.

And as I reach an appendage
Up through the moist drain,
Down came the rain to wash me out.

I could barely think for trying to breathe.

I spun and thrashed and cracked my head
Against the walls,
Still slick,
Granting me no purchase.

Couldn't you just have waited
A minute longer to wash your hands?
Whatever was on them can't have been that vile.

As vile as me.

But as I right myself and begin climbing again,
I can't help but be thankful.
I needed that water in my lungs.

If I'd caught your eye,
You might've smashed me with a broom.


I went to church. This is what I heard.

It happened in a small town in New York. A boy brought a gun to school and killed 7 children.
Shit. Spit.
dragged across the floor
paints more than
red black and blue,
not quite an IOU
but nothing short of beautiful.

All of the mothers rushed to find out if it was their child. It was somebody's child. It's always somebody's child. The mom went home and stared at her son's unmade bed, at his muddy shoes, at his dirty clothes. She washed the clothes and made the bed. Put the sneakers in the garage on the shelf. It wasn't real. It was a dream. Then the hospital called and asked if they had permission to transplant his organs. She said yes, and his kidneys went to a dentist. His heart went to a minister. Two years later, she found that minister and talked, laughed, and cried with him for hours. And as she was about to leave she cocked her head, stared into his eyes, thought for a second and asked if she could listen to it- if she could hear her son's heart beat one last time. So she pressed her ear up against his chest for hours and heard the most beautiful sound in the world.
And she left
a changed woman.

There was a monk in northern Greece that had a dream of making a pilgrimage to the great city of Jerusalem. There he would walk around the basilica three times and kneel on the earth and the dirt and find God peeking down on him. He saved his money until he was old enough to say he was getting old. Then, he grabbed his cloak and his staff and his bag of coins that would carry him to Israel, but he didn't get very far. He made it half a mile before he saw a tattered beggar with tattered excuses for clothes and a tattered heart. The man asked for help. He had a family. The monk stared into his eyes and thought for a second. Then he gave the man his bag of coins and walked around him three times then knelt. Kissed the earth like a haymarket square but with nothing there.
And he left
a changed man.

I wrote a letter once. It was to somebody who knew me better than she realized, but she didn't realize what she knew. I wrote a letter about a little boy and a little girl who made a tire swing up on a hill somewhere back in the fifties. I wrote a letter about a teenage boy listening to lo-fi tapes in his bedroom for hours. I wrote a letter about a little boy, mid-twenties with his back up against a column that was holding up a hospital in upper New York City. A boy who fell asleep on the subway on the way home. And as the wheels rattled through the veins of the city born to me eighty years ago, my dream went like this.

I would see you like a hand reeled movie
sleeping on a park bench
in a town too small to go unnoticed in.
Waking up from a small hill in Tennessee with our bodies imprinted on it's crest.
A man would ask you if you had ever cried
and you would say yes
but it was red and soon drenched
in whiskey to help the pain
and save some face.
Save some for me, you'd say to your slipping hand
but it was already gone to your veins and the floor and a little in your jeans.
You hadn't hesitated, you just hadn't thought of stopping
And you would think of whether or not
you should have told him all of this.
And whether it was right to lie about such important things
But it wouldn't be important enough to think about until later.
When you would have time
and a place to sleep
that wasn't so quiet
and so lonely. A place with more people,
where nobody cared that you were there,
on their park benches,
on their minds.
A place in Andalucía with other people like you.

I crawled out of the steam into the lower east-side
opened my eyes
walked around the block three times
and fell to my knees at the mercy of a dark alleyway
Whatever comes out can have me
I thought
And I kissed the pavement
let an insult bounce by
And I thought about dreams
of us taking a steam ship to Spain
and worrying about not taking in the sunset
for as long as it was
but it would only get better until it disappears
and dreams of sleeping in Seville
and leaving everyone else behind
but now your bound here. You’re
buried here
you’re etched in stone here
Embossed in the city here.
Lady Liberty once said she welcomed me
But I don't know if that means
I'm allowed to leave
it wouldn't be the first time
but this time
I just wouldn't tell her that I wouldn't be coming back.

Maybe it's better that she never knows.
Off to Andalucía And I Lose You.


you took me outside
and started making a snow angel.
"Won't you make a snowman for her?" you said
while the december air gripped my body
and whipped my head.
I flashed you my bare hands,
already bitten by the wind,
and asked,
"Now what do you think?"
not expecting an answer good enough
to keep me out there for long.

and you didn't give me one,
so I waddled back inside
leaving you
to make an army for heaven.

but now
when the city's asleep on a blistering winter's night,
I walk underneath the halo
of an empty streetlight and pray.
I pray she's found a saint,
who'd withstand whatever weather
with no complaints.

and as my feet become one with the asphalt
I reflect on a single, sad thought
'til the break of day:

men like me,
even those made of snow,
are not for angels.

From the Rain in the North (Avarice)

The shrine feeds us,
we are joined by the same spirit.
A distant perusal;
the great refusal.
No regrets.
You are only making it worse,
wrong speech
wrong, wrong everything!
Nothing has changed.

There’s nothing more you can bring forth;
my lips are nice and dry.
I feel like killing time.
I feel aggressive.
I know what the body
is for;
I don’t have much grasp
with reality.
What is there to talk about?
You say:
“I don’t owe you anything”;
serpent man,
you try but fail.

Don’t reach for the gun
too quickly;
The owls and the ravens
entwine too foolishly-
a sense of discomfort.
I have come one with the asphalt
and drown without prominence.

Don’t get carried away,
feel no shame for what you are
nor no shame for what you were;
grace is what matters.
A fearless composition;
the hollow seed
springs into our conscious:
the autocratic existence;
the closing rapture.
Have a drink
till you are no longer speaking.
The black garment
is lifted. A lapsing death;
a sigh of joy.

The Queen of Heaven
hangs gently
on the promontory.
Reverse. It is not of God.
The demons grind us down.

Visions and repetition;
a tattered Invocation,
the humming of the Lord
is brought to a stand still,
wherein the evening circle.
We gather around the frozen river
on a deserted garden.
The ancestral dance
calls several kingdoms.

A maiden stood in terror,
she said and replied:
“Tired superstitions
reside within me.
This is the formal pattern;
you should go back
the same way you came.”

Arrive on the road
with all your friends,
Lord, that’s the right time
between the primitive terror.

The aether
arises within itself,
on the outskirt of wilderness-
you were not there,
little did I care;
a different shade
to appear.

Here comes the bride
and retarded children
gradually towards
the perpetual origin;
the distinctive progression
for young lovers.

A clattering voice
a clattering soul.
Little one
you’ve been patient with me.
Sometimes you burn.
There’s no father,
there’s no healer-
I prefer to pretend they do not exist.
It is a delusion,
it impedes speech.
I know how I began
and how I end.