For About A Hundred Different People

Lately the left side of my head has been floating away,
So I may have been looking right at you seemingly listening,
But really I cant hear anything because my own thoughts are too loud.

And then when its time to go to sleep its more like a headache.
The loud thoughts get mumbled, and its noise not ideas.
And my pulse in my head and my palm, like one hundred little hearts.

Sometimes I can see individual atoms, slowly floating,
Not just in the corner of my eye, sometimes I can stare at them,
And follow them to their disappearance, to their meshing with the noise.

Sanity seems to come and go, I’m not so worried about that anymore.
The funny thing is that I cant figure out how it correlates with my happiness,
I don’t know when I want what, or what I want when or both, or whatever.

Everyone seems to worry about me though, and that’s nice, that helps.
Keeps me from thinking that I’m not as important as I think I am
Or that somehow all of you would figure out all of this without me.

If it Is done Know my sadness

I don’t know if you exist anymore.

If your last words, those of desperation

Were, in fact, your last words.

We all get lost, you know that well,

But sometimes that which pushes us off

Follows us, and haunts us.

So, perhaps you were pushed gone,

And you aren’t to return—

know my sadness.

Know, now, brother, that I am lost.

That if this world has no room for you

I am hopelessly spending my days finding out,

And waiting to finally embrace you again.

I would give to you one thousand breathes,

One million verses, and more tears than eyes have known,

And see to it that you know my sadness.

You cannot, however, leave us here alone

You are too strong to say that that quest is over.

So, I feel you watching and revising me,

And sit in anticipation of your next move.
You fill me with rage
Violent passionless rage
The kind that, so that,
I don’t care, I don’t do anything
I sit, I don’t think, I
Move, but only a bit
Only to the bathroom, and
The kitchen, and sometimes to
Call a friend. To ask
If I am as bad as you make me
Think that I am. They say I am not.
Then, you say, people just
Let me be bad, they are
Afraid of me. You exploit
My fears. You know that I am
Afraid of scaring people,
I showed you that, and now
You say, I scare people
So that, maybe, so that,
You will always have me thinking
That you are the only one
Brave enough to confront me
Or that, maybe that,
You will have power over me
Here, in this instance, revenge,
Maybe revenge. I don’t believe it.
I don’t know what to believe
You have me here not thinking,
Not laying claim to any actions
Or any emotions or anything that’s
Come up, or passed over, or felt
I don’t remember.
I don’t remember
picking up this pen
I don’t remember
being moved to write,
I can’t recall the first line.
Or, what I wanted to get at,
The heart of it, the emotion,
The way I wanted to move and
How I wanted
to be moved,
Carried, taken somewhere, showed
That things were good, or not bad,
Or at least not scary,
I don’t remember
How I got here.
The steps I took,
Or what I passed along the way.

You came home today

And because I can’t see myself changing
You looked beautiful, younger, less secure.
We sat in silence for awhile
One of the most comfortable silences I’ve ever been a part of
With my only slight concern being
Whether your silence was as comfortable as mine.

You said, “There’s been a lot of death this summer.”
Nodding, more silence.
It hasn’t rained in a long time.
They said that makes a pretty fall,
Leaves die faster.
Smile, nod,
Then, “Water rolls off of a duck's back,”
Exactly because no perfection was available.
Smiles, more nodding,
I’m glad you’re home.

You and me and our two dogs

I have learned to become content
with the dissatisfaction of good-byes
at airports and train stations.
One of us is always left
wanting to make the parting
more meaningful.

I am home now.
I dropped off you,
and your dog.
I am just trying to get back to sleep,
wondering if I appreciated you enough
while you were here.

I feel this same thing about you
and my puppy—
I wonder if you both know how much
I love you when I’m sleeping.
Lying next to each other,
do we know we both are there?
What do we have to account
for these lost hours, you and me,
and our two dogs all together
side by side in my small bed?

World Trade Centers

In the airport there’s a nervousness and a suspicion.
I’m going to California before the war.
I’m taking my dog with me.
He’s never flown before,
I’m afraid he might shit in his crate.

William This Time

Because you left without saying goodbye
And I don’t know that I will see you for a long time:

You weren’t there to meet this girl I don’t like,
The one I kicked out of bed tonight, and will try and avoid forever now.
I saw Ann last night, and reminisced, remembered that I love you
And no gay love, just thinking clear-- free from competition,
Don’t know that I have that anywhere else,
And wondering why you’re settling now,
Why you’re even more afraid than me.
Sometimes I try and think like you
Just to see how it is, “just to see how it would be”…
And I get cut off, so I’m just like you then
Not bound by any incomprehensibility or misunderstanding
Solely by my own misnomered insecurities,
Which seem to come and go,
And growing older, slowly passing, aptly pacing yourself,
Never endangering anyone, or losing sight,
Of a few sacreds which are somehow,
--And I say this truly now—
Ten times more sacred than anything I’ve ever known.

I have a friend who cries for me when I’m sleeping and
When I’m making these mistakes.

White Cotton Panties

Delicately she places
the clothing she has removed
beyond the foot of my bed.
She is mother to my son.

I don’t call her nasty girl,
or use handcuffs or whipped cream.
When I’m done I fall asleep
with my head between her breasts.

Karan and I agree that
it is important to have
a wholesome image in mind
at the end of masturbation.
While you were asleep I looked at your eyes
And watched you smile as you thought what you dreamed.
I counted your breaths and timed mine to the same
And you moved your lips to say you loved me, it seemed.

But when you awoke I couldn’t turn to your face
Because I knew that my eyes showed what I’d learned
And I knew that you didn’t know what you told me
So instead I began speaking about something absurd.

What the weather was like, and what your middle name was
And finally I asked you what you were dreaming about
But I couldn’t turn to check if you made up your words
And whether you still hid your love I couldn’t figure out.

Sky Softening

When Amy took the kite from me
She let it float more freely,
And spilled silk into the sky.

My kite string bound but skyborne,
While sister reads winds for ride,
And picks the path of softest flight.

What was tonight?

On the not so well lit path home
there was a moon, almost full
three quarters, getting fuller
that wasn’t the amazing part though
it was yellow, and it glowed
well beyond its sky.

There were two skunks,
chasing each other, angry and
making noises, tails raised,
each in mad pursuit
of something different.
They seemed haunted by the sky.

It’s not a very long path
there’s things to look at
there’s thoughts to remember
there are feelings to carry home.
There’s still the walk to fall asleep
to catch a moment of stillness

And to almost feel
The wakening kiss
To roll back over
Smiling, unconfused
Quickly wanting
to sleep that way.

week by week

week by week it changes
whose turn it is to
like the other more
read and re-read letters
for clues, concerning
meanings and some
“what’s going on?”

And it works out,
we match in these ways
that feed on each other
and we never
we have never
passed at a point
of equivalence.

and we’re not even
having sex yet.

Waiting Room

Coffee on the table guzzles. A pot steaming,
freshly brewed. No one moves to help themselves.
Outside the window rows of cars
will be taken out of spaces into service,
out of service into parts, out of parts into repair,
where electric drills will whir their sounds
into this waiting room.
I am tired.
The three women next to me are too,
with a slow mop to the brow, and a dragging
movement of the eyes,
towards the TV in the corner.
Their stares thicken by the screen
where a woman with blond hair
fixes wicker chairs. She washes their
legs and backs to make them shine.
Scrubbing, soaking, dipping, rinsing,
she will make them last longer...
Longer is what we have together
in a small space with a window. The workers
in blue coverall suites
are sweating, walking, opening,
driving, shutting, pulling, turning--
but not sitting. Not staring at a screen,
or out the window at themselves
where life is just an example
of a function of itself
shuffling, shifting, drilling, walking.

Transitional Lows

I thought for a long time about
What it meant to be comfortable, feel secure.
Because I do here, -- I don’t there,
And I couldn’t understand why.
Why my person changes with my surroundings,
My smile differs with different people
The words I use carry more or less meaning,
And I sleep better, feel less sick, eat more.

I dream sometimes of taking bits and pieces
The things I like from each and starting there.
I can't put my finger on those things though,
I don’t have that power—like I cant
Heal people with my touch, it's not that strong.
I drift in and out, and while I’m between,
Changing, I feel a miserable low, but it rises.
I find the things I like, smile again, different but just as good.

I guess it won't be any different down the road
There won't be a convergence because really
I don’t want one, I don’t want to lose
The discomfort, awkwardness, the transitional lows.
I can build life upon life and with each different one
I can live differently with just a few carry-overs
A handful of universals, the ones I’ll always need
To be happy, keep smiling, keep being myself.

To Your New Baby!

hello in there.
You are a fabulous baby!

You have been forming inside Megan
for weeks.

in your previous life you did something
right to come back as Megan’s child.

Can you already feel the beauty of your mother?
It’s your lifeblood, you are being made of it.
That’s how I know you are fabulous!

Your heart is forming now, making its first
few beats. It is an outstanding heart,
you will get to use it a lot!

Your head will start to take shape soon,
with soft hairs and smooth skin,
and your little arms,
and your legs.

and when you start to kick at Megan’s belly,
you will kick in the rhythm of the beautiful
music that surrounds you.

and when your eyes start to form
they will be large, beautiful,
always open,
and everyone will want to see them.

In February you will gently slide out
onto Costa Rican beaches,
and you will find unconditional love,
sweet milk, mangoes, and marijuana.

And you will never have to cry
because Megan loves you,
and everyone will tell you
how that’s the greatest thing in the world.
Tonight I looked up
Because a girl walked by
Who smelled like you.

She was much older,
And not half as pretty,
or half as intriguing.

Still though, I thought
If she also had your mouth,
It would have been enough

To slowly fall in love with her.

Through Revolving Doors We Pass

Maybe if I had just loved you the first time
You would have forgotten about him
And we’d be together all the time now.
I wasn’t ready to feel anything then
I still had my own world to carry
And you really only fit in it now and again.

So, here, with things reversed, I hate to think
How many times you were wanting me to call,
Or come over, or say things like,
“You’re the only one who can make me happy.”

You’re the only one who can make me happy.
A little late, I guess, I should have counted on
Time to treat us poorly. It works that way
So no one is ever wholly happy,
So everyone is always wanting
Something they could have had before.

Between Boundaries, Dissolving

This morning I woke up
I don’t remember how
but I was awake
and wondering how long it had been since I was asleep.

I rolled back over
but not to go to sleep
but also not to not to
I rolled back over to still be there asleep and awake.

In that state
you think about things more quickly
and it's all connected
and at the end you can't remember where you began.

This time though
I ended thinking of you
and began that way
and it was the middle I can't recall.

I was wishing you
were there with me
lying in between
and holding me, thinking quickly.

My blankets weren’t
keeping me warm
but the cold was
too threatening for me to change things.

Eventually my body
forced me to wake up
and forget about what I thought
leave your picture somewhere between night and day.

So now with eyes open
my mind moves more slowly
and only flashes
and pictures and cold and you not there

helping me sleep and helping me not to.

This isn't Ginsburg's hospital window.

I don’t have the view of all of New York
I’m not even in New York, I’m in Philadelphia
and my window faces the other side of the hospital
the side they keep the terminally ill patients on
and I can see the bridge between the two buildings
the enclosed bridge where the sick people walk
and the open bridge on top of the closed one
where the well flaunt their health in the sun in the day
so my visitors don't ever ask if they can open my blinds
or if I miss the sun, or tell me what its like outside
last week I was in a different room, the one at the end of the hall
which looked at the same bridge, and the same building
but from a different angle, where you could almost see the train tracks
on the other side of the hospital, the ones that run toward my house
and further to New York, where Ginsberg once sat
in a room that sounds much nicer than mine
one with a window that he could open, that looked on more things
and looked on them more poetically, or more beautifully, or optimistically—
I guess.

CHOP- Aug 9, 1999
This is a poem to tell you how wonderful you were tonight.
It is my first one since Hawaii.

You stood, and leaned, and bent, and hovered, on a wall.
Acting. Crazy. Calm. Angry. Sad. But bigger than those things.

I watched. I saw you from so far away, being someone different.
In real life you are not a nun, you are that size, but you are 22 not 20.

I still loved you. I still wanted you to love me.
Some things you did looked dangerous.

Not just the times you were upside-down,
but when you had such intensity, in all of your parts,

it scared me to see you have so many feelings all at once.
I didn’t mean scared, I mean it thrilled me, it scared me

the way that movie scared me, it made me worried,
because it was so amazing.