Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My House, The Day A Brick Fell Down
My house grew up on a dusty street. On summer nights men and women would walk by. Arm in arm they'd sway as lovers. I was young, too young to know what this love was. Sometimes I'd open a window and lean my elbows on the sill and rest my chin in my small hands. From the house I'd get a promise late at night not to say what I was doing. Watching under the moon when my parents thought I was asleep and dreaming. Me and the house were childhood friends. There was a boy across the street we would often see. A young man, really. I wanted to be like him when I was older, because he was free and had a girl who was pleasing to my eyes. Then one day he wore an army uniform, gleaming with polished shoes. My parents said he signed up to fight far away in some Asian war. I was sad to hear this, I thought the house was too. Then they said he died in that far away place. That night I opened a window and rested my chin in my small hands. I cried a tear. The next day my father found a brick, and said it must have fallen down during the night.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I took what I liked best, and put it into a white cloth bag. I don't know what I'll do with the rest. But I took what I liked most, and drew tight the drawstring. With the bag slung loosely along my shoulder I walked and walked. Then I wrote a poem. I don't know what I'll do with the rest. But someday I'll write a poem about a man with a drawstring held tightly to his chest.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I was crazy once. Barefooted inside my brain. Mad at all the madness inside of me. Angry at sin. Angry at the coursing, bubbling...boiling blood beneath my skin. I was crazy once. But I don't walk barefooted. Not inside my brain. My blood doesn't boil. It just simmers inside this sin.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I walked into the One Lucky and sat at the bar. I wasn't sure if 'Beer Mugs' Moran would recall my name or remember my face. He was busy serving drinks. I assumed he couldn't see me out of the corner of his eye. He hadn't changed much as far as I could tell. Although, he did seem older and his shoulder looked as if it caused more pain. He hobbled some on his right leg. I wondered if he would think I too was getting older while pretty much looking the same. That is if he remembered me at all.

'Beer Mugs' looked at me for a second, and brought a drink. He put down a ginger ale, and said: 'You're Tortelli. What brought you back?"

I didn't know what to say, so I asked if Manny was around. Before he could answer, a fight started. He threw two guys out. It took a couple of tries to get them through the door. He didn't talk to me for the rest of the night. I just sat and drank slowly, and thought no one knew my name.
Often times I prayed to a God I don't know. That was years ago. Now, I pray no more. I carried a poem in my vest pocket. I carried one in a wallet, too. It said nothing without rhyme, as a prayer does without a verse. Like a God I don't know, this happened years ago.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I protected him. I wrapped his fists in tape and put boxing gloves over his hands. Then I tied them up tightly and secure. The look in his eyes told we were brothers. He went down in the third round. For years I trained him. Got him fights. Now he was old. He went down in the third round. He got up, slowly. First on one knee. Then he grabbed my arm and I lifted him steady. He was my brother. Now he's dead. They called from the coast. They said another punch drunk fighter went down without life in his veins. It'd been years since the third round. But only days since life left his veins.
It's been a long time since I last touched their lives: The One Lucky, Manny and the Ghost of Charles. It's been a long time since I touched the life of Zigman and those people he wishes he loved. It is true, it's been a long time since they touched my life. But the order of things is for me to decide. For them, perhaps, they wait in pain. Or is it as a concern they wait, as they think the pain is only mine.
A fever was burning my mind. I filled a bathtub with cold water and poured in a bag of ice. I sat and shivered and thought this was a terrible way to die: cold and alone with that burning inside. I got up and dried myself. By morning my sickness was gone. I decided to call a friend.

I called my friend, but she wasn't home. I would have told her about icy water and aloneness and a terrible way to die. Instead I went to a bakery shop and sat outside. It was the first day of spring. Across the street I saw yoga silhouettes in the morning sky. Through round windows they looked young and beautiful as they touched their fingers tips. I sipped from my coffee and thought of my friend and wondered if she called, if I would be home.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ask the old man what's the matter. He'll tell you the people are broken. Their lives had shattered as thin ice does under a heavy night. Ask the old man if any of us survive. He'll tell you a coldness froze them long ago.

I saw a crazy woman scrub a street with rags beneath her feet. I asked her what she was doing. She said there was a lie written inside. I thought I understood. But now I wonder, is the lie written inside all of us, or is it in the shuffle of the rags beneath our feet.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I sat in a bakery chair on a early morning. I held a cup of coffee tightly in my hand, as if I was waiting for a woman to walk by. Then she strode beautifully past a window and turned her head. She left her eyes behind.

Years have past, I haven't seen this morning since. But silently I dream of a woman's name. If I could, I'd tell her sadly she left these eyes behind. I'd tell her also of an old bakery as forgotten ghosts, and how we fall with each morning's sunrise.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

On Friday nights these men played poker, and gambled their stories away. Unless it was too personal. Or was revealing of what they truly thought...or felt...or spoke to how much they lost. So for years they made up tales. For years they kept poker faces. And through all their Friday nights, they didn't know any true names. Nicknames like the badger...the horse...the rabbit...the wily fox...strong as an ox. Of the men who owed each other money, one kept score inside. He wondered often about the hand he was dealt and why he was called the Fox.
I wish I could swim
I wish I weren't drowning in two inches of water
My arms so strong on steady ground, I sink deeper into darkness
These lungs filling slowly, one drop at a time, this breath in gasping sorrow
Help me from these inches of water, like murky enemies I can't see
I am drowning, I know
Once I was strong, but now I am sinking breathless
If only I could swim
If only I hadn't stumbled into this murky shallow water

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Winds I
I walked alone in a forest of broken trees
A bitter coldness left me brittle and afraid
I thought a heavy wind would break me in two
As what happened to the tall pine. And what happened to a fallen God I knew as strong.
But in all this I mended in sorrow a disbelief: against a brittle cold and heavy wind

Winds II
I drifted into a dream, like a slow river in a summer scene
The calm was different than the cold winds above
The trees were maples, fragrant with leaves as sweet green
Will I awaken to broken pines, against coldness and heavy winds?
Best to live this dream, to take a swim in a soft summer stream
Belief and disbelief won't matter
What does is to wonder
And to sing to the maple tree under a brilliant sun