Dolce Vita

The Aftermath of New York


There’s darkness within me.

Oh, my heart!

So full yet incomplete

The world has taken its toll on me,

And left us with only steel.

Silent minds are often shallow;

Asleep beneath the false sunlight, they hide away.

There’s darkness within me!

Oh, my heart!

Hide me from the livid trees and groves of entropy

Dolce Vita,

The rich man goes first,

And the rest are soon to follow.

Charcoal black is the afternoon sky

Dolce Vita, we all shall die.


A Children’s Poem: Beware the Crimson Leaves

The Aftermath of New York

Beware the crimson leaves

For they stain the earth around

Look not with vacant eyes

When they softly hit the ground

The crimson leaves will fall

As lovely as they seem

The soil filled with vengeance

And angry men to please

They’ll cut the sword like diamond

When brothers spill their blood

For nature has no mercy

When the damage has been done

Fear the water, fear the land, fear the Hand that be

With no soul to look down on

And not one soul to free

You can lower your swords for peace

And turn away from hate

To save the earth we walk on

It may not be too late

So beware the crimson leaves

For when the last one falls

There’ll be no love share

And there’ll death upon us all


Big Talk, Little Town II.

The Aftermath of New York: Always Before the Storm

Upon my return,

Backs to me, I go unnoticed.

I am invisible again,

Knuckles pressed to the glass window pane

Before it shatters like my heart did.

It was all I ever had.

In the city,

There’s no talk of the bright meadows or the thick woods.

No talk of hiding in the barn on warm summer nights

Giggling when the girls screamed, “BATS!”

Overgrown pine trees,

Sap on my hands

It was all I ever had.

When did I start to slip?

I guess it got cold that winter.

I should have wiped my eyes in the fall

When the goldenrod made me sneeze.

Running to the fields beyond me,

I was a failed representation of my mental state.

It was all I ever had.

When the sky cleared for spring

Was when I lit the match.

I didn’t want to be invisible, so I bit the hands that fed me.

People closed their ears

And even turned their heads.

I wanted autumn to come again

It was all I ever had.

Upon my my return,

Backs to me, I go unnoticed.

He’ll keep his eyes on the 50 yard line

And only turn his head if I bother to show my face.

Fingerprints on my wrists when I had to leave,

I guess I never was invisible.

His kind words were all I ever had.

So when I return, I flash my smile

In respect to the bridges I burned.

Pick me my goldenrod, 66,

But leave room for me in the headlines.

– 8/28/17

Big Talk, Little Town I.

The Aftermath of New York: Always Before the Storm

By the time I was five,

my nose had become akin to the smell of damp dirt and diesel fuel

and my eyes to mud tracked hallways and a sea of blonde heads and dull, grey eyes

By the time I was seven,

they realized mine were hazel-brown,

and that my daddy came from the city rather than a small town

so his shoes were always clean

By the time I was twelve,

the rat-faced boys learned hit heads on the field

but I was the one running the yards to escape

like white-tailed deer

praying not to end up a summertime meal to somebody with a camouflage smile

By the time I was fourteen,

I ran out of breath

and put my hands around the throats of the hicks who called my old Cadillac too clean

before realizing if I choked them it made me just as blind

By the time I was sixteen,

I was long gone

and knew there was more to people than just the dirt on the

soles of their shoes

so whenever I return to the town

where they spit on my black boots,

I let them.


The Life of the Man Next Door

The Aftermath of New York: Always Before the Storm

What reason have I to be repulsed by my own species?

My own kin, as if my mind is abstract enough to separate it from theirs.

None. Not one that is fair

Because I am as much of a product as they are

Forced to stare at my loved ones

Blue faced in an extravagant prayer laced box

Worth more flimsy green paper than I could accumulate in two years time

And am told to call it closure

As if it wasn’t a complete and utter disgrace to the deadman

Whose soul twitches with embarrassment

Under sorrowful empty eyes.

I’d much rather be a wort covered toad,

Or a writhing worm stuck to the pavement.

A beetle under a shoe,

Or an unwatered blade of grass.

Yes, maybe then, I could leave this foul world in peace when it is my time leave it.

No one would look twice.

No one would have to lower my lifeless carcass into a box

That was half heartedly decorated by the hands of a laboring child

Who never saw my face,

But had to take something home to mother so they could afford supper that evening.

No one would bother to stare.

Maybe then I wouldn’t be cradled like a fool

Or kissed with formaldehyde

As if humans actually cared.


revised: 8/27/17

The Unsalted Sea

The Aftermath of New York: Always Before the Storm

Drops of sweet salt fall to the pavement
where a tom cat licks them up like sugar
but not fast enough to stop a wave in the lakes
that I am forced to be afraid of.

I’ve read the posted signs
“10,000 shipwrecks”
and the gale warnings that make my screen glow in the early hours
as I prepare myself to wade in the vast, open waters
holding my breath
where the rip tides stir silently
threatening to drag me out.

I am not the Edmund Fitzgerald
your waves only lure me in deeper.

“Save me from myself; don’t let me drown!”
I sing to the sea
like the radio sings to me
the sea that’s not an ocean
the sea with no salt.

I laugh
but only at my mind sometimes
I am not afraid of myself
rather what lies beneath the waves
before I find a passing seagull
who tells me to look east
find the sun to feel the rays
that warm the water on the winter days.

The cat lays next to you on the blanket and licks your hand
your skin is the softest cream
you chuckle
but not enough to make you shut your blue eyes
that read “I love you so, forever and more”
and I believe them
oh, I believe them
and the sweet sea blue.

I dive headfirst into the waves
with gills.

– 8/5/17

A Memorial 

The Aftermath of New York: A Simple Poem

(Thought of at the National September Eleventh Memorial, 6/11/17)

I was asleep in my cradle

safe, sound, untouched

miles and miles away from a newly acquired knife in a nation’s heart

when I should have been wide awake

should have let the fear strike me and leave its battle wounds

as it set into the jaws of millions

when the gasoline gushed into the office space

illuminating a man’s face

with sunken eyes on the 101st floor

asking, “Where is God when I have to jump?”

and I know he thought

how he wished he could grow wings

like the jet planes that landed at his feet

like he was living a little boy’s dream

but he didn’t wake up before it turned into a nightmare

and how he wished he could land without feeling any pain

but sometimes the world doesn’t work that way

so he tipped himself over the edge

hoping someone would catch his last words

with a prayer to his family

before he fell




and shattered in a sea of red and rubble

making a fireman’s stomach churn

and President Washington turn over in his grave

so now I stand

where thousands had wished to brush off their shoulders and walk away

or maybe even go back up to save the day

and I watch a leaf fall




silently to the water

and a passerby flip in a coin

because it’s easier than offering a shoulder to cry on

but I’m old enough now to understand

the wrath of an unforgiving world

and I don’t have the heart to scream out that gold doesn’t dry tears

nor does it wash away a sea of red

or dab up spilled gasoline

or mend the beams of the 101st floor

or give a desperate man his very own wings

because where is God when we have to jump?