There’s No Street Cleaning In Providence

Father-

Your days weigh more than the family around your neck.
Nine months and nine pounds without your voice or hand,
my mother called, and you said: “Give Him My Name, Noel.”
And she abided, faithfully, by the promises made
that warm May night. But years proved these words,
like so many other parts of you,
were broken, and so I am yours
in name only.

I haven’t your dark eyes, fair skin or welcome wiles.
That cooing air of arrogance
in your smile, or the graceful way your beard
rises and settles into a dignified chin.
Your daughters are your spitting image,
shorter and effeminate, but telling tales
of their ancestry by the nines
of their soft and thoughtfully thin
eyes, a wild nose above cupid bow lips.

I am not like them;
every camera and mirror whispers,
how my genes have aborted you.
And yet strangers say the strangest things-
like that I am most your son when I look most annoyed.
Something in the nothing of demeanor
makes me summon your image to men and women
that have known you. The passive opening and closing of a fist.
In a folded leg, an unconsciously tapping foot,
staring into the distance with a cigarette dangling from my lip.
All of these acts I thought my self are borrowed,
are not my own, are ghostly references to a man
this man
who grew up growing you
says are bestowed;
are reflections of the seed
being strong.

But…how?

My first razor was from the deli man,
his eyes lost when I asked him how to do it,
until he could understand that I was young and
that I needed. My first day of school was Johanna
ironing clothes, running me over with a lint brush,
combing my hair and reminding me
no girl likes a boy who sucks his thumbs.
Sex came from a box, a secret, a word of mouth
passed along the boys and bus rides.
Shared and studied in the dim blue tint of monitors
and television screens when nobody could see us
in our vile innocence. YouTube learned me
with tutorials, my first suit from my first check
a baggy thing. Green shirt, black tie, but
from your few visits I’d already known
how to make a knot
having been left in one.

Yet I am most your son when I look most annoyed.
The passive opening and closing of a fist. A folded leg.
An unconsciously tapping foot. Staring into the distance
with a cigarette dangling from my lip.

And I wonder, can character carry in a vein?
Have I shed and denied your look but not your scowl?
Am I as doomed as you are, to the rum on my breath
and vagabonding with the boys on Tuesday night’s
rather than with my family home? Father,
our days are numbered like the calendar
and when I’m fugitive to a feeling;
waxing gibbons and poetics at the moon,
I’m tempted to think my temperament is nothing
more than an heirloom. Is a remnant of you
in the recesses of my blood,
and I’m tempted to take a razor and gut you out.

But there is no salvation in suffering your self;
it’s best to leave that to the masochist.

Instead I’ll wear your name proudly,
but like a cautionary tale.
Instead I’ll learn to love
better than how you’ve taught me.

Well.

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It Takes Two To Tango (So If The Sex Was Lousy That’s Also Your Fault)

I was born once but have died many times, a suicides cacophony,
dressed down to the 9’s in dismantled almost and
New York is covered in my gravestones.
145th and Park, drowned in taco flavored kisses
and horchata. Time of death: when her lips met mine (1:59AM)

Lost count how many lives lost down Amsterdam,
Jakes dilemma like mine: Do or Don’t,
a simple answer when you’re young
Yet it all went south with Chris on West 4th,
stuttering on words said, choking on courage
and the empty soliloquy. .

Singing up Lexington, laughter loud in our lungs,
wild and bewildering, the way love should.
He had on ripped jeans and the fountains were pink,
moonlight dazzling, surrounding me, pale eyes
drenched in passion. Kisses hidden by the scaffolding,
59th Street and Madison, rusted love to stir the stale blood.

A deathless death in inches, physical symphony
and reawakening from the tomb of myself.
The bedroom is covered in rebirth, amniotic evidence,
Past Dyre Avenue where God waits in open arms,
and heaven can come twice, with patience.

Lunar Interlude – Reflections Of A Recovering Nuisance

Crowded back seats, a choking lust
for sex, for life, for mushrooms,
weed, cigarettes, ecstasy and dick jokes.
My twenties a hard blur of important moments,
never the full cut, like clips from a music video
the teenage years strive for but
never had enough access to the confidence
or drugs to see it through. An era one might consider
overkill, petty, premature,  and thoughtless, down the road,
but that’s tomorrow and my therapist problem.

I like the wild restless crowd:
people you don’t necessarily trust
but never mind having around.
Only benefits without the friends.
Deep down I think Hannah’s the kind of cunt
who’d fuck your boyfriend on your own bed
and not have the decency to take her shoes off.
but she calls me handsome, and compliments my haircut,
so she might fuck me too one day,
and hey, pobody’s nerfect.

Validation is funny, necessary,
like air, gravity or taxes, I guess,
but I don’t understand it.
Then again, there’s many things
I don’t understand. Most, actually.

Like marriage, and microwaves,
or friends who call
“just to see what’s up.”
Cynical, paranoid, maybe, but
I try to see the angles.
Ask me how my day was,
and my answer’s always

Why?

How Sweet The Sound That Saved A Wretch Like Me

veins of my city clotted, dark creases,
ivory white lines. hollowed brightness,
tarnished yellow; a broken sun or
blotted lampost, or like milk, that shade
when it takes to coffee.

faded in translucent clothes,
easily read outfits and
two bit disguises: modern misery
is dolled classic narcissism. obvious –
an inability to say no or swipe left,

cheap thrills with a cover charge.
vapor smoke,overpriced beer,
metro-card limousines and
moonlight passes as if hardly there.
easing through glass like bodies, frail,
sharp, suited, and false as nails.

a stranger’s eyes cast shadows
on a fog in 59th Street- two homeless
men smoke stale cigarettes off the ground.
smiles,just ignore the hope and wile.
a house of mercy built on cardboard.

Ice Doesn’t Fit In A Shot Glass (But Resentment Does)

I wish I was a better man than the one I pretend not to be.

But I am this terrible, or great, depending on what day of the week you meet me in. Sometimes I curse lies at those who mean the most to me, and other weeks don’t leave much besides second hand friendships that are nice enough to leave you with the lighter.

“You’re a pain my ass,” My father said. “But fuck. You’ll be a fighter.”

Sometime near Spring in college I liked to go out and fuck my life up when there was no getting over those math classes in a Criminal Justice Major. And when I told that asshole of a professor “THERE’S EXCEL FORMULAS THAT DO THIS FOR US,”

He pretended he didn’t hear me.

And no judgment here.

Because I do the same.

The ABC’s (Of Going ↓ On Me)

And beauty couldn’t define every flawless girls hair I’ve joyously kissed; lingering moments necessitate our purpose;quixotic reveries stolen, taken under veiled windows. Xeroxed youthful zeal.

Again, beyond cold dawn, effervescent fevers gaining heights. In jasmine kindled love, my needs overcome piety, quiets religion. Sexuality that undoes, venerates, with xoxoxo’s, yielding Zion.