The process of owning up to all of this
will be like grating our own skin –
fine white shards swirled with red

and we will say “what heroes we are,
grating our skin for the minorities
that we have done so much for already”

and I’m not sure that we will get there,
to our own sunken place,
to the terrible realizations

that persist despite our deflections;
even so the pure light of love waits
at the center of centuries of guilt,

whispers softly, “this is the way.
You must submit to the oldest truths.”


Never, ever allow the histories
to drain the color from this moment. Stand
there, garbed in a suit from Indochine. Stand,
sir, while men of similar hues confer

and shrug, confer and shrug, tortoises and
dodo birds, jolly caucus race. Black folk
told you, Sydette says, and we can only
marvel that anyone could truly say

different. You stand there, sir, my lord, good king,
and we shall await your pleasure, cameras
in hand. In hands intent on holding those
few shreds of the flag we could gather. Stand.

It is the portraiture of darkness that
will lead us again toward some grey dawn.


Rain from a clear blue sky,
unseasonal or else simply wrong
for May. May I interest you,
Mr. Trump, in the ghetto statecraft
of the House? Jackals always bite
and snap and you, with your
certainty on this day, finally
something to crow about, would
do well to remember the bloody shards
in their teeth. Today I read
a voter’s pamphlet in which one
earnest lunatic running for the ESD
misspelled ‘their.’ Twice.
I’d put him in the office over you
any day, and likely so would that mob
you cracked a Bud with this afternoon.
If wishes were horses they’d trample you
while you tried to get them into a line.
There’s not a plot to lose.


Comey’s back in town, Donald,
and it doesn’t look good.
It looks like a shit show,
if I’m honest. All this energy
driving you forward last year
and now, the let-off, the
actual weight of the nation
settling onto your restless
shoulders as you toss the
house, wander the halls, loot
the fridge as the night staff
watches appalled from a corner.
Honestly, man, I wouldn’t
blame you for bailing. It would
be a welcome respite, wouldn’t
it? Back in the boroughs,
lording it over the hipsters
who think they know what
quality looks like? Their logos
aren’t hardcore – hardcore
is a gilt five-letter word
dropping like a bomb on another
country, all flash and sizzle
and, oddly, terrible food.


I don’t stand by anything.
It is a policy I adopted
through hard lessons in
the art of construction

project management. Stand
by things and you’ll get
killed. Things fall, they
drop from heights, they

perform erratically and
leap from the hands of
the person you were silly
enough to stand by. You

learned that lesson, see?
Don’t you stand by me.


Carmen’s inhalations like a slide whistle
thanks to post-flight sinus, a gentler
crescendo difficult to imagine. Not to steal
from Sean Maguire, but it is the imperfections
that reveal the wonderful truth about
perfection – that no one desires it, not really,
not once they’ve seen the other. She flies
to distant locales in this America
and tricks people into acknowledging love.
It is a marvelous and exhausting living,
but in lieu of snores last night, a whistle
that nearly drove me out of bed to obtain
a recording device, so perfect was the
scoop up to a major third. It is of course
rude to ask, but have you ever felt anything
like that? Donald: why does your wife live in NY?