Intro to Rosalyn

I put this rhyme here so you’d know it’s a poem: to you, from me,

But how many poems right outside your door did you fail to see?

The crack in in your leavened bread, the froth on your milk,

The rain on the glass, billowing, as if it were silk.

Not all poems arrive arranged in perfect lines.

Plenty you can’t see—but you’ll know are there if your heart aligns.

And many others still, although they may be built from words,

Will be less audacious, winking at you to shape them into songbirds.

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Night hymn

Night is best for thinking about beginnings—

Not morning, like they’ll try and tell you.

I’m braver with my notions of what could be

With sleep so close to rescue me

(When old Fear get his claws around too tight.)

I’ll need a runway afforded only in dreams

Long enough to let the guts of the thing shake out

So I can see what it’s all for.

By the time the sun hits, I’m ready.

The amnesia of sleep is a convenient armor

That greets me fresh each day.

The hard part is done, I say—

Morning is just the other side of the door.

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The Choice

There’s that place,

You know it too —

Or not so much a place,

But an edge between two places

Where I can’t stand

(Because after all,

Feet need a place.)

Feet can’t float or fracture

The way I’m floating and fractured now.

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In Somnis Veritas

When the lonely feeling comes for me again,

I grasp in frantics at straw men

To snuff out the vibration in my chest—

The one that lies, insisting it knows best.

The one that taps out in morse code,

“Surrender now and you’ll be given what you’re owed—

But if you seek Nirvana or something made of that same stuff,

Nothing you have to give will ever be enough.”

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After the yagé

It’s humid from last night’s summer rain and much earlier than I would normally be up on a Sunday. I’m incredulously eying an impressive network of cardboard scraps duct taped to the sidewalk in an effort to tamp down electrical cords for who-knows-what. It’s this place between inventiveness and absurdity that I love about New York. 

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The Film Between

It's not so different from screaming underwater, muffled and blunted by the film between sleep and waking. Screaming in a dream is like screaming in a phone booth made of warped plexi. The sound expels in visible waves, thuds clumsily in slow motion as it meets the walls, does an inelegant pirouette and rattles back again.

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When I run south along the Hudson in the early evening the sinking summer sun blinds me just enough that it’s easier to close my eyes completely and let my feet snap beneath me in a silent vote of confidence. As each step catches in momentary suspension I trust my body to carry me to the next. They say all our suffering is self-created, and in the private dark behind my eyelids my mind turns over the same tired, beaten thoughts.

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Love, have you seen him?

I feel heartbroken. But don’t you need love first for a heart to break? Is love some shellac that must be painted in thick strokes, hardened to a sheen, ripened to a patina to look like time and something shared? You need only as much as the back of a spoon, and a tiny tap at just the right spot to crack it wide open.

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