The moment I step out the front door
my thoughts tear off
like they’re on three leashes
after five different squirrels.
The tulips this morning were
drawn up to their full height
fresh and reckless.
Last night I woke over and over
sliding around in butter and
swilling red wine.
Out of the sun,
junkies and bag collectors
debate themselves and find things
are not where they left them.
Pagans are in the meeting room.
I will head straight home.
Do you have eggs and flour? If not, why not? If yes, great. You are rich. You can make pasta. Fresh pasta is the third great joy of this year and it is sitting patiently in your kitchen.
One of the many unpleasant consequences of losing my mother ten years ago was I lost any real enjoyment in the kitchen. Cooking was one of her passions and whenever I tried it I would miss her. I would become anxious and miserable.
One of my favorite meals when I first moved to Brooklyn was as follows:
- 1 can tuna, drained
- 1 half eaten container low fat cottage cheese
- 1 baggy of baby carrots, flavorless
I would mix the tuna into the cottage cheese and use the baby carrots as utensils. No muss! No fuss!
Now I know the secret of cooking: all true joy is in action. At lunch sometimes I sit and watch the sushi chefs silently slice and tweeze a full salmon into sushi size pieces, dressing it like it’s going to the Oscars.
I can make you fresh pasta on a week night- two eggs, one cup flour, butter and parmesan- one hour and we can sit and eat. Tell me everything.
Was what I called the old black and white street cat while I carried him in a cardboard box from the library on Dwight Street to the vet. He was a good cat and now he’s gone.
How is confidence to be learned?
The smoggy grey of the sky above grimy buildings during the day,
the smirking bottom lip of the moon at night.
Entropy apparent, decay on all surfaces
The common loss of things and people
points to a guilty verdict.
A few circumstances show instead a worldly indifference to good and bad.
“Hey.” And I turn from the bar to see a friend of my true childhood, gone for twelve years.
A slip of paper with my oldest friend’s Italian phone number passed to me by a stranger.
The tiny dog, waiting for me, alien to judgement.
That direction, that is where I want to go.
Seeing you the other night was like
sticking both my arms elbow deep
into the bottom of an icy spring
cupping them and trying to take a drink.
My hands went numb holding
sediment and leaf mold,
waterlogged twigs, and moss
coated with a thick brown scum.
A moment before the water had
looked clear and sweet.
Seeing you was also like turning the taps on
after weeks away from home.
The water rushed out bloody and spat rust into the sink
and I stood back and watched it run.
Seeing you can not be like
seeing that yellow afternoon light
that comes in sideways and
reveals the air all around us
is secretly crowded with dust.
Sitting on hard plastic in fluorescent light
I remember how you once bit me
gently on the wrist and
I try to picture clean water rising with time,
coming right out of the ground.