POEM: Happy Days

terrace

Happy Days

these sidewalks are littered
with slowly fading memories
their edges are folding up
colors draining from the images

already Terrace Bagels has changed
it shrank then grew again
Thomas Wolfe once more proved right
but at least the bagels are still good

I’m three blocks from “our” place
waiting for the person you were jealous of
funny how relationships turn out
how I cling to what I can

outside the cafe door a woman
shakes a paper cup in the wind
she’s singing a song I can’t hear
as one person after another passes her by

just in case the point needed to be made
the theme from Happy Days starts playing
I watch my own reruns for a moment more
then turn off the channel and stand to hug my friend

/ / /

22 March 2014
Terrace Bagels
Windsor Terrace
Brooklyn, NY

POEM: Naruto Ramen, Brooklyn

Naruto Ramen, Brooklyn

where the cooks speak a mixture
of Japanese and Spanish
Irashaimase!” they call
as people come in off 5th Ave
hang their coats and backpacks
on the wall hooks
those who know sit at the bar
because the bar is a sacred place
where devotion is paid
to the sprout, the noodle,
the bean pod, the tofu square,
the white pepper garnish
the sweat on the brow
the cold Sapporo or Asahi
the cheap balsa wood hashi
that you break at the end
scraping the sticks against
one another to remove splinters
order the extra noodles because
they’re generous with the broth
slurp loud enough to pay respect
to the hachimaki-sporting men
flinging pots on the six-burner stove
like Barishnikovs with ladles
for some, the nostalgia is as thick
as the steam rising off the broth pots
it’s a bit of a surprise to leave
and find yourself in Brooklyn
not in any of a thousand thousand shops
just like this one, tucked around a corner
of a narrow street, in every town in Japan

4 April 2012
Brooklyn, NY

/ / /


It’s National Poetry Writing Month! A poem a day, each day in April.

POEM: Prospect Park Lake

Prospect Park Lake

a silent fleet paddles by
streaming out in a v
behind the leader

a rat pokes its nose
out of the reeds
it’s waiting for us to pass
so it can run for the roots
of a nearby oak tree

as if on loan from
the set designer
there is, of course, a swan

it looks majestic but sounds
like a duck with a kazoo
lodged in its throat
the sound is shocking
a burp from Princess Grace

the requisite moon glows
behind a low, lush layer of cloud
silvering the waters

and in a moment of madness
I get down on both knees
take your hands in mine
lean in for a kiss
ask you not to marry me

3 April 2012
Brooklyn NY

/ / /


It’s National Poetry Writing Month! A poem a day, each day in April. This is the second poem I posted today. I wasn’t too fond of the first one.

POEM: like

like

garlic and Earth Balance over warm rotini

the key changes in Stevie’s “Summer Soft”

flowers on the window sill (our window sill)

Roland Orzabal’s guitar solo on
            “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”

miso ramen with white pepper and sprouts
            eaten at the bar where everyone is sweating

sembe and a cold bottle of green tea

Levon Helm’s drum crescendo on the final verse of
            “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”
            from The Last Waltz

when my kids get tired at night and forget
            they’re too cool to hug me

the chorus of “Go All The Way” by the Raspberries
            heard while watching someone stuff artisanal Twinkies
            in a Park Slope bakery (I know, I know)

in bed, playing Chrono Trigger, one of us for the first time
            and the other, well, not for the first time

at the table (taken from 24 Packard) talking politics
            while Paul Robeson sings “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”

sitting on the cushion with the rain falling outside
            and the Japanese temple incense filling the room

when you said, “I want you in my life for a very long time”

2 April 2012
Brooklyn NY

/ / /


It’s National Poetry Writing Month! A poem a day, each day in April.

POEM: Cape Town

Cape Town

singing Cape Town into Brooklyn
through a pair of speakers made in China
music written in the Berkshires
by a madhouse veteran of the solo circuit
green tea in the last surviving mug
from the latest in a long line of relocations
the new room has an altar in it
which would surprise everyone and no one
the air smells of incense and lilacs
the bed is a nest of pillows and mattresses
if you draw the Buddha, said the monk,
be sure to always draw him smiling sweetly
that way he’ll make the children happy

1 April 2012
Brooklyn, NY

/ / /


It’s National Poetry Writing Month! A poem a day, each day in April.