New York (2013)

When you think of New York

You don’t think of buildings

Or population

Of the weather …

The smell of asphalt

Wet and burning

Which makes the people

Feel more like

Rodents running


You think of


At least I did
I was telling my sister,Jo 

This at her bar

I great little place

A hole in the wall

I love coming here to relax

play piano at the window

Watching all the people

Moving in and out
She just looked at me

With that expression

And then said

“That’s a whole lot of hyperbole

My bar is getting taxed to death

I can’t pay rent for my apartment

So I’m staying here now …

There’s something to write about.”

Then she stopped and shaking her head poured me a drink.

“Vodka, make sure that’s vodka”

I said pointing (she hates people pointing)

“Don’t give me Rum like last time

I almost died …I could see the world just beginning

As I was falling out …I think that’s actually a quote…maybe?”

I was only giving her a hard time
“It’s vodka” she said dryly

Shooting it down the bar
I always admired her talent
“What’s really bothering you?”

I asked as seriously as I could
She just looked at me

So I went to the piano

And stopped


On the seat

Was a box

Macadamias …
Jo shouted from the bar

“Hey, Annabel came by

she had been baking…again.

She said you seemed upset

So she brought



Was great

The baker and holiday


A great friend

To have in This massive city


it’s where her degree

Brought her

And everybody loves

A getting pulling up their roots

I sat down at the piano

Shaking the rain out of my scarf

Watching the people outside

Shuffling in all their hurry

I began playing my favourite

melody for rain


Prelude in E minor
Counting the colours of scarfs

And shoots of red hair

Poking out from hats

I wondered if anyone

Ever regretted moving here?

You can’t always go backwards

Even something like this

Can sometimes

Leave you isolated

I needed to start writing

I needed to do something

But instead

I stayed

And I played

Until my sleeves

We’re rolled to elbows

My jacket on the familiar floor

And I was on Prelude D flat

“Rain drop”

As the night shuffled in …

Down the alleys

And the corners

And the rain

Long had given over

To snow


Chapter 2

“I don’t know…”
Sara was staring straight ahead with her camera …taking shots of old people in the park

And animals …

Her flaming red hair spraying out

From her hoodie

I looked at her for a second

Shaking my head I asked again

“Are you really ok?”

“No…we were together for 7 years

And then he just left…

I don’t know if I can do this again…”

She was always the strong one

In the group

Her British accent

Tattoos and camera

She seemed untouchable

Until she started dating again

And then reverted back to

This …person…

Who couldn’t make a decision

But in her defence

Her previous relationship

Had been something else

“Jared looked at me like he didn’t know me …and then he just left…”

She took a shot of an old couple asleep on a bench ….
I sighed …

“Well,you can’t stay in bed all the time…you have to get out more …

Turn these pictures in…”

I kicked the curb ….sending pigeons flying around in a panick

You turn in your manuscript??”

She was genuinely concerned

“No…I can’t finish it…”

“Are you still seeing Laura?”

“Yeah,but I don’t know…I think so…she’s a screenwriter …I mean we essentially do the same thing …and I don’t know…it seems to be going well…”

“I think I’m a lesbian…”

I stopped …

“What? I helped you pack when Eric cheated on you…you just got through telling me about Jared having a hard time because…”

She laughed

“I know I know…but I don’t know how to be myself in a relationship…

But with women …I can do that…it’s very freeing…I can breathe …”
“Well,I’m not telling Jared..”

“Neither am I …I’ll just let it run its course..”
“You are insane…a mad woman.”
“Maybe but at least I’m not afraid to turn my manuscripts in or ask a girl to marry me”
I grabbed her camera and shot a bar across the street

“That’s just unnecessary cruelty …I’m not getting married anyway…

You need to talk to Jared

He needs to understand what’s going on he fell in love with

A strong woman who made decisions

And now you’re afraid of upsetting him …you have to talk to him about

What’s going on .”
She stopped, setting the camera down

She started to cry …

In 5 years I had never seen Sara cry

So I just held her

And said nothing
chapter 3
Right here

At thanksgiving

It’s freezing

And all I want is my muffin

That’s it

But a hand flashes in front of

My face

And takes it from me


It’s Rachael

jumping ahead of me

With my muffin

All full of energy

She owns her own

Gym and nutrition place

Or thing

It’s very foreign to me

“If you want it

You have to work for it

Come on!”

She’s laughing and running ahead of me – backwards…

“Dammit…” I breathed

“Shhhhit! Come on it’s negative 20 out here ! if I move I’m going to tear something I much rather prefer

Slowly freezing with my muffin.

It’s more acceptable than breaking

Like porcelain ….”

She pouted,her nose crinkling

With disappointment

“Oh fine Achilles …have your muffin

You are quite the warrior”
“I’m not laughing,I’m not laughing…

I’m ready to get to the bar so we can eat Annabel’s food and wrap things

Can we do that? Let’s do that.

No one dies from death temps

And exposure.”
“Oh christmas it’s overrated

I hate the cold but I still run

I make this body what it is.”
She was messing with me
“Listen you communist,I love Christmas and muffins

And fires

I like the cold

I just happen to be aware

Of when my blood is

Frozen,congealed and killing me. Where’s your american spirit?

This is a time for sleeping

And getting fat

Not running and health.

Indulgence! Dammit.

That’s euphoria!”
“Yeah,sounds like diabetes

and no sex to me..I don’t like it”

She laughed and ran

inside Jo’s bar …

I sighed,

“Jesus I need to find some dudes to start hanging out with…”

Chapter 4
The mop splashes across the blood. Mister Sing, slowly moves it around in circular motions left to right. “Does this happen often”, I ask. “Oh yes”, he pauses for just a moment…picking something off of the floor. “Ah! the finger!” He presents it to me on a foam tray, with a grin. “Maybe Allen used to be a ten but he’s just a nine and three quarters,today.”
He continues mopping while talking he’s a good one…I’ve always enjoyed just hanging out and listening to him tell his stories about working with people. His family started the business in the 30’s so he never runs out of them.the stories I mean.
“Butchers are always cutting off limbs.But one time,I had a customer just fall out in the floor reaching for eggs. Just filleted her leg open on a basket. Blood was everywhere. Asked her if she was on any medicine…she said. ‘Oh no! no! Just blood thinner!’ I had to wrap it myself until the ambulance got here.” The floor is clean. You wouldn’t know there was a finger or blood or a screaming Allen fifteen minutes ago.Kicking a trash can in the back of the store…holding his hand between his legs. “I tried to get Allen out here” – Mister Sing continues – “but he took one look at all that blood and walked outside until she was gone.”
Mister Sing hands me a brown bag over the counter. ” Here’s your ground chuck,and fingerless at that! He says laughing and shaking his head. I put some bbq in there also…trust me…(he spreads his hands for emphasis) you’re going to want in on that…goes on everything…put it on a salad…and it turns into meat. Ho-Hey!.” He laughs.

Chapter 5


It’s said

Always want one thing

We want to be heard

We want to be seen

We want to be understood
we say we feel things


We see things differently

Things coming together

Just to come apart

Like entropy

The only difference

Between us

And everyone else

Is that we not only see it

We feel it ….

And we are jaded

Sometimes before it even

A stair case

A closed door

Snow coming through the window

Paint chipping on the walls

You see it all

But you’re outside

Standing with

Sara telling you to go

Take a chance on


Even after your fight

Your drop down drag out

God Laura …

Her blonde hair

Pulled back

Her hoodies

And loose clothes

Her violent schedule

Working with

Local theaters

And dance studios

And writing her


You could see the

Scars along the inside

Of her arms …

The first time we slept


She was nervous

It was like a map for me …

Pieces of doors and windows

That only she could open

If she wanted to

Tell the stories

Behind them

Standing at the balcony with our drinks 

Laura pointed to the 

apartment across the street 

“I’ve always loved her window..she keeps lights in it all year ’round…not just on’s nice you know?.”

“Every night is like New Years then?” “Exactly…the possibility of beginning all over again in the morning.”

She smiled-covering her face with her hand.”it’s ridiculous, I know.” But I didn’t think so at all. And I told her just that.

We stood in her theatre work shops 

And she wrote letters on the backs of photographs 

Sliding them across to me 
But the staircase

And that door

My heart didn’t feel right

There was an echo to its beat

As I walked in

The fan (spinning lazily with a slant)

The heater (burning)

I could hear the shower

On the other side of the door

I opened it…
Doors like boxes

And safes

Hide things

But it’s really just a psychological

Thing because we have the ability

To look inside them

there are always secrets

There will always be secrets

Your father wasn’t the guy

You thought he was

Your wife is a lesbian

Your boss is actually into

Hard core porn

And Heroin ….

Secrets are little rooms

That we have a hard time


But when it opens

It’s open

And all you can do

Is read it

Even though

It sometimes

More often than not

Is like the aftermath of a storm …
the shower (steam and water hissing)

The mirror (fogged over)

The curtain (torn from its hangers)

And Laura …

on the floor (facedown)


Trapped between the toilet and the sink

She’d suffocated from a seizure ….

No one there to help
It’s been said that artist

Always want one thing …

Sometimes all you have is

The need to be seen

I guess that’s what we have

In common

That need …

Artist just say it louder

We feel it

Maybe or

Maybe we keep it in….

like Laura

Who never told me about

Her epilepsy

It’s just a room

Waiting on the

Courage it takes

You to open it

With files and folders

we foolishly think only

We can read

but it’s there
It’s not a door

It’s our lives

It’s a window

And everyone is looking

And no one at all

Chapter 6
Did you know,that in WWII…Hitler wanted his generals to burn down Paris …but they looked at the city…and they just couldn’t….the idea of saving it ‘s historic pieces …was to great.To be able to look at them…years later…and know…’I could have destroyed that…but I chose to save it instead.’
Too bad they couldn’t all feel the same about saving a race of people ….
I’m sorry I’m rambling again 
I was just looking at a photo Sara took…it’s hanging above her couch…Her place is small,but nice.’efficient’ is the term she uses.Doesn’t believe in wasting space. 
She walks out of her room, red hair,pulled back into a messy bun.Hands me a large Yellow envelope….and just stairs at me with her big green eyes. 
“Take it…it’s nothing…I just thought you might want them.”
I tear open the corner 
And there they are
Black and white images 
Of Laura, working on stage…directing actors….Laura …sitting in a window…looking out at the people of New York 
My chest feels heavy….
“When did you take these??”
I ask 
Sara just shrugs and pours some coffee 
“A few months before the accident…how are things with you? We haven’t exactly heard from you and it’s been a while since I see you around.”
She sat down on the floor beside the window ,crossing her legs…lighting a cigarette.
“I’m ok.i took a journalism internship…but i had to go to Louisiana… Just a bunch of old jobs …stories on culture…things like that.”
“Sounds good”
“It was…I really needed to get away,ya know?”
“Yeah….I can’t really take much photographs anymore…I have this thing with my eyes…I just can’t see.”
“What?,why didn’t you say anything? Have you had it checked out?”
“No,no,I don’t have to…it’s genetic …I know how this works.”
She shrugged and got up,crossing the floor.
“Sara,look,I’m sorry…I know I haven’t been around…I left real,real fast.and I’m sorry. But…I had to….I just want to be a good writer…I want to write something that matters…something good.and I’m really sorry,you should have been able to reach me.”
She turned around and looked at me.
I kind of felt sick then 
Because I realised 
Everyone is older now 
and some of us are dead 
Some of us are going blind 
And for me 
The world just kind of felt numb 
And I just kind felt stuck 
And I felt real selfish
And ashamed 
“You could always tell me anything, didn’t have to leave like that….and all of us had plans…I don’t know what I’m going to do…I have seen wonderful things …I regret nothing…I don’t have to see anything else.especially if i have you two.” 
Sara looked out the window 
And I realised just then 
How there’s so many people in New York 
But yet 
We still have only a few 
And we still feel alone sometimes 
And if we are lucky to have these few …who stay close …we should definitely keep them.

And I knew we would make it. I knew we would be ok. What else is there?


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