THE FILL UP
I was filling up with water and light,
our feet on the sidewalk,
a gentle mist hanging from the bulb of each streetlight.
You told me you were not going to stay
and I held your face in my hands.
Even the memory now shines in me.
Odd that this feeling should live in my anatomical heart.
I was always so certain.
Did you mistake my readiness
for a lack of depth?
I felt as though I'd always known.
That time in the bar: jukebox light warming the brick,
the indifference as I sat at your table.
If only I could drink gin forever.
And it was fine; I could picture your dog
Rolling on the grass in Ithaca,
until I found out you were moving to Brooklyn after all.
I polished off the liqueur and went up on the roof to play you a dream song.
I watched the sky turn a cathode array of color, the way it touched the
silver painted black top, the way the water towers and tops of trees were cut
from it like black construction paper. I think you would have liked it. The
way one star hung from another as on a noose. I can't remember the words I
sang but I don't think you will either.
GET ON, SKILLMAN!
Get on Skillman.
See that there are too many lights on Skillman.
Think that the problem with Skillman is too many lights, although, other wise
it's pretty nice.
Consider living here.
Like the coldness of the morning; the energy of the morning.
Hope that there is more money than you think there is in your checking
account, like finding an old Chapstick in the pocket of a winter coat.
Ride towards the bridge.
Consider living under the bridge.
There are some good industrial buildings under the bridge.
Ride over the bridge.
Look down and see yourself four months ago, before the broken clavicle, on a
skateboard riding down the street between the subsidized housing blocks.
See the sign for luxury apartments on top of the building made out of luxury
Consider living on Roosevelt Island in a luxury apartment.
Decide not to.
Look at the rooftops from above.
Remember the kiss last night as warm and wet and without context.
Hope that you put both your hands up and said "no" softly enough.
Happy for the bed you woke up in.
Don't think about anything as you flow with traffic.
See the girl in the sweatshirt.
Think about the body of the girl in the sweatshirt.
Think about the John Ford movie.
Realize why you were thinking about the John Ford movie.
WHEN THE BROOKLYN BOYS BEGIN
Slicing oranges and listening to
the song from the speakers
about the U.S. taking Berlin
I felt shell-like, with lust, with
sticky citrus juice on my shell.
Latter thinking about baseball:
cultic, a sˇance in nine parts,
or eighteen, depending
The feeling in my back begins to return.
It is not a pleasant sensation.
I remind myself to change positions on the couch.
I wish there was someone else in my apartment
and I had something ineluctable to do.
Outside the light is pouring down on everything indiscriminately.
The gossamer curtains move slightly in the breeze from the open window.
By crushing the pills, mixing them with water, and then pouring the solution
through a coffee filter you can extract the acetaminophen.
I want a dog, or a beer, or a girlfriend, or the drive to work on my
painting, guitar, writing, skateboarding, collage, etc.
The residue in the coffee filter is a sticky white paste that resembles
My laptop is on the wicker coffee table next to three old glasses,
a coffee cup with coffee sediment in the bottom,
and an array of magazines, books, and useless papers.
Everything looks covered in cigarette ash,
although the cigarette ash is mostly in the ashtray.
When you drink the water
you can feel your mouth go numb pretty much immediately.
The view from the window is limited:
a brick wall, a fire escape, a tree, and some sort of industrial looking
But the light falls on everything.
And elsewhere, elsewhere is occurring.
and a truck passes by, and Jesus doesn't come into my heart,
and from the speakers Elvis keeps singing about the ghetto.
© Ben Wallin