you texted so many times
complaining that you hadn’t heard
from your next door neighbor for days
I awoke to 77 or so texts between you
and our other sister
the worry in your voice
breaking through the tiny words on the screen
I told you to just
fucking call the cops
when it comes to things like that
there’s never time to worry
just time to act
and today
you told us
through text
that your neighbor is dead
Your fiancé
found him in a puddle of his
own vomit.
He had either overdosed
or just got sick
while he was
41 years old
wife just left him.
he checked in
and checked out
of a rehab.
didn’t like its structure.
wanted to do things his way.
what was he thinking in his
hovering over the bathroom sink
or maybe
falling in slow motion
onto the bathroom floor?
I hope that last sight or smell was somewhat
maybe that time you got a balloon
when you were 5 years old
flashed before you
or maybe it was one last final waft of
grandma’s cheesecake
before you hit the ground
before you took one


For you

Week after week
I would come through those
gray doors
It didn’t matter what day or time
it was
It was always unlocked
Cracked just a little bit
The stale hallway
leading to a stale apartment
Warm yellow light
and muffled voices
that became louder as I made my
way into the humid
and sometimes
The same faces
week after week
month after month
Year after terrible year
Our eyes would rarely meet
Money would still exchange
Drugs would change
People would come
And go
The black couch and the pain
would remain, though, the same
I remember one of the many times
we shuffled out in our
Substance induced oblivion
and swing on the swings in
Satellite park
Empty but for us two fools
young and reckless
and completely carefree
The sun shining down on our
tepid bodies
Our skinny faces
Roaming the Brooklyn streets
as the day and its events would
leisurely pass us by
How I do not long for those
veiled days
They are but a distant mark
on a lonely and dark past
I have rid the shackles mostly
I hope you can someday too
at least for your two children
if not
For you–

You said it’s my grandma–

You called me into the
bedroom to see something
really special
you said

And on the windowsill
I saw
One large lustrous green parrot–

I thought
They don’t sit on
around here

In fact
They don’t fly
around Brooklyn at all–

I had never seen such
beauty so close–

My fingers shook
as I struggled to
take a picture
and so
in that instant

He flew away
but came back again
with four of his
brothers and sisters
and as a team
as one family
they gathered up
their soft green wings
and quickly
disappeared into
the early Brooklyn morning–


Kneeling and
praying at your
lilac casket
I felt for a few
soft moments
your spirit arms
wrap around me
and around me
and around me


Where one life ends
another begins
Your death
Her birth
Your return to the earth
another chance to start again–

The Dome

I realized today
why I love medieval art
with its flat 2-D lines,
ambiguous grimaces on
lonely faces,
lily flowers coupling
long blue drapery,
severe brown cloaks
and rigid narrow staffs
for watching flocks,
for steadfastness,
Drowning faces
masquerading suffering
yet glorifying grace–

I stared up at you
Distant martyrs
and worshipped you in
my small but big mind
almost thirty years later
I still revere you
and give you thanks
for all that you have taught me
through your artists’ interpretation
of what it means to be devout
what it means to be pure
what it means to be love
and finally what it means
to be humble and
to the almighty
Our Lord
Our Father
Jesus Christ–

The Universe

You have passed
I watched you go
The ceremony created by the sisters
with prayer
with tears
with song
with even some laughter
you are gone
but you are still here
Your smile permeating
Your existence
has seeped into everything
that we call
The Universe–

74th Street

big, empty rooms
each one had a door
to a hallway that
led to the front of the house
a dark, secret passageway
no one ever used.
i remember opening it
one time, unlocking the
giant brass lock
at the top
almost too high
for me to reach
but *click*
i did it, and opened
the giant, heavy
ancient door
peaked beyond the pink
white safe haven
that was my childhood
room and saw
the brown and black
outer darkness
the large, wide open
dusty Victorian stairs
the dust bunnies dancing
in the slip of light
that cracked through a
forbidden window
and love lost
frayed and hollowed
and torn patterns of the
and wood
and lonely heart–


I saw your face in her face for an instant
my friend
who has passed
what message are you sending me
in this brief moment?
is it about
letting go?
moving on?
that I’m okay here today
or that you’ve learned something in the afterlife?
You used to say the past is a trash scape
and here we all are
constantly trying to
let go
let go
let go–

The Next Party

Spin the record
pass it along
From one dark hand
to another
The music hasn’t stopped–
Our hearts haven’t stopped beating
The womb is still in creation
and Mother Earth will continue
to spin for you
One body
One mind
One record
until the next party starts–