A Prayer Before Sleep

Jack searched the neighborhood as if he’d lost something.

Looking up and down the street, crossing sidewalks, he meandered auspiciously as if he’d forgotten where he was going.

Jack found himself in a state of neither here nor there.

The chill of February hung round his shoulders like a thin shawl.

It was his morning walk but to what ends—to what means?

Tires squealed in the distance.

Birds began their daily routine.

Automatic lights turned themselves off.

And what emerged from the tree line? Sure enough, as it had so many times before, the sun.

Jack knew that it would be long before the sun warmed his chapped fingers but at least it shed some light on his path.

Nothing was right or wrong, indeed, it was too early for such nonsense.

But still Jack did all he could to remember what he was looking for and why he’d been so eager to rise this morning before his alarm clock could shout obscenities to his ear.

It was the reflection of the sun off an old car window which caused him to touch his brow, where when removed, his hand revealed a thin layer of blood.

He couldn’t remember how or when he’d received such a gash, which the window now showed, laughingly.

Realizing where he was, he’d found what he’d been looking for, though it was as fragmented, cracked, and littered as the sidewalk that led him home.

Before entering the thought of knocking crossed his mind, but why? He lived here. This was his home.

The house was silent except for Jack.

He laid in bed as if it were the evening and since he wasn’t a praying man, he sang softly to himself.

It was more or less what praying had done for any other man before him, and would do for anyone else who’d find him thereafter.

It was then he turned off his alarm clock and shut his eyes.

THE END.

His final farewell

I recall the calm

as I recall the storm.

Lead foot hesitation,

the slamming of doors.

Endangered are many

who’ve less stayed for more.

Excuses are fatal,

not ours anymore.

See I recall quiet

death and coffin smell,

his mustache, beard shaven

estranged from the crowd.

Was I the unwelcome?

The burden? Expelled?

His name once my keeper

I’ve written it well.

Yes I recall freedom

wished upon a star,

a second floor window

alone in the dark.

The price no one bargained

unimaginably hard,

his soul like a raven

still blackens my heart.

A kid and a coffin

for now I recall,

the parlor room floor

dead silence in awe.

While tears spill to carpet

and jittering jaw,

echoed through the parlor

with no sign of God.

I recall the calm

the storm never ends,

it grows like a Cancer

bad thoughts fill my head.

His final farewell

is my cross to bear,

how no son of mine

shall feel such fear.

One Philadelphia Night

I took off my clothes

my skin suit

and rattled my bones

clicked my heels

and down the hatch

I went spiraling forth

into a bleak oblivion

where not even the dark

could hide, I

stood staring into nothing like

a Mona Lisa replica

my conscience hung midair

like a wine stained sheet

pinned neatly to dry

and there were no bones about it

I had completely lost my mind

stumbling down West 4th and Pine

crossing line after line, every time

after time just me, myself, and I

delirious in my delusion

picking homeless men off the street

with tears in both our eyes

I’m no different than you my dear friend

neither are you from I, he said

you’re going to be all right, he said

as for me well, I’ve lived a storied life, he ended

with a reassuring glance as I handed him two dimes

for it was all I had

collecting my clothes

skin suit and conscience

brave the winter, he said

spring needs you

An Exhibition of Age

She examines her shoulders
her breasts, each time
she comes exposed from the
cool chlorinated water.

She’s aged but not old, tan
but not that dirty brown leather type
lifting her arms to slick back her hair,
each gesture is strategically planned
as not to exhibit the slightest idea
of wrinkles or tear of stretched skin.

It’s important for her to feel young, almost essential.
It’s as clear as the ripples of water she leaves behind
as she folds to the comfort of a faded maroon lounger, the
heat of the sun slowly dries the beads of water
which spider like tears upon her olive thighs,
and disappear into the fading afternoon.