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Category: Albany

POEM: orbits


each one drifts apart
falls into a new orbit

basement investigations
over veggie sushi & tea

milestones celebrated
lasting & otherwise

fires lit in circles
burning across the page

elliptical but intersecting
on late-night bridges

off on a lark
in front of the crowd

looking through telescopes
wondering what we are

cloud-obscured stars
outside the bar

/ / /

17 April 2021
State College PA
for Carolee Bennett

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POEM: salt



you were sitting on the couch
I was on the floor in front of you
you were wearing that skirt
your bare legs pressing against my back
I knew all I had to do was turn
and you would accept me
the salty taste of you on my tongue
your fingers twisted in my hair
I would pull you toward me
you would arch your spine
head thrown back against the couch
eyes closed, breath deepening
stifling your moans with one arm
because there were people sleeping
in the next room …
but instead I sat there, facing the wall
feeling your knees against
my shoulder blades

/ / /

Written in 2010, I think, in Albany, NY.

Photo source


POEM: What to do at Schalmont (when there’s nowhere to go for lunch)


What to do at Schalmont
(when there’s nowhere to go for lunch)

On my lunch breaks I would sit
in a graveyard, reading aloud
the poems of Robert Burns in
what, to me, was a fair Scottish
accent. If this behavior struck
the dearly departed as odd,
they never said, which was
kind of them.

22 January 2013
Auburn, AL

/ / /

The image above is of the mausoleum at St. Cyril & Method Cemetery, which is the cemetery referred to in this poem. (Photo source.)

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POEM: and so we say our goodbyes

On Sunday I’m moving from Albany, NY, to New York City. Today I started saying goodbye to my friends with a few little gatherings. Although Albany was the site of probably the darkest year or two of my life, I did meet some incredible people here who I expect I’ll be friends with for a long, long time.

/ / /

and so we say our goodbyes

over avacado tortas and enchiladas
iced tea and fresh salsa
we talk about work or lack thereof
share a laugh about the end of the world
tell stories about food poisoning
and a raffle at a Stones concert

later there is a poetry reading
out-of-town poets with an in-town crowd
afterward we have a conversation
that is like the ones we’ve had before
in exactly the right way
Nina Simone is singing – we have to stop talking
when she gets to the Dylan tune
for the record, I am not Bob Dylan

tomorrow there will be Japanese food
and the glow that always comes from it
but even this is not goodbye
who really has to say goodbye anymore?
I’m not heading west in a wagon
never to be seen again
I’m as close as ten numbers
as near as the computer screen
as far away as the edge of the universe


POEM: old couple in the therapist’s elevator

I found this one in my notebook. I wrote it back in November after witnessing this scene.

old couple in the therapist’s elevator

she says “dirty rotten elevator”
he doesn’t even sigh anymore
just presses 2
puts his head down
kneads the brim of his gray-
checked fedora with one
arthritic hand


stone #21

Listen using the player above.

coconuts in a winter bus shelter
like finding snowballs on the beach in Maui

/ / /

part of a river of stones

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stone #10

Listen using the player above.

/ / /

first my teeth pierce the soft nori skin
then move through the rice into the rich
avocado in the center

the mug of sencha fits perfectly in my hand
and there’s just enough room at the table
for these friends who will miss me when I go

/ / /

part of a river of stones


Albert Glover at Caffe Lena

From 101006_caffe_lena

I had the distinct pleasure of having dinner with the poet Albert Glover tonight and then hearing him read at Caffe Lena. Thanks to Alan Casline for putting the event together and for inviting me to tag along. If you’re not familiar with Albert’s writing, look him up. He’s well worth the effort.

Here are the photos I took tonight of several of the poets who read, including Albert:

And here’s a video I shot of one of Albert’s poems:

I also have an audio recording of Albert’s entire set, which is going to be part of a new project I’ll be announcing soon. Stay tuned!

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