puma perl, three poems


I always wanted to be
exactly who I am


But it didn’t turn out
as I thought it would

It took me a lifetime
to understand the secret
of long marriages

You don’t leave

I always left,
and I never imagined
the ending

nothing holding me down
or pushing me up

Untethered, ungrounded

I never imagined poems and books
I never imagined bands
I never imagined a dog

I never imagined cars,
or fixing them

A friend said we all die alone
He was trying to be nice

I never imagined sunrises
at my window

Most of my apartments
faced the wall

I never imagined life
without drugs

I never imagined a drink
that didn’t lead to heroin

Not a popular thought,
but it’s mine

I never imagined thoughts

Every time I forget
what’s on my mind
I make the wrong choice

I never imagined letting go

Nobody forcing me
to entertain my obsessions
except for myself

Another year
I never imagined life
racing to the finish line

The dog still needs to eat
The sun rises with or without
my camera and the window
The car remains parked
crookedly in its spot

And I’m still writing
about my bad ideas
and occasionally a good one

Memories less important
than moments

Ways to live
provide more choices
than ways to die,

another Charlie Parker

Wandering through the Charlie Parker Festival
Running into couples
One pair had just come back from Nashville
Asked if I was here with anyone
Yeah, a thousand people and nobody else
The female half of another talked
about vaccinations and autism
I don’t know how we got on that topic
Spoke with a guy I knew until I noticed
him clipping his nails
Said I had to get some water
And ran away

Last year I met up with Steve Cannon
Sat on a bench with him for a while
Steve Dalachinsky sat with us
The park is empty without him
and next year it will be emptier
Loneliness hit in the bathroom
in a forever kind of way,
permanently intolerable

I left the bathroom
and suddenly
wasn’t alone anymore
Friends surrounded me
A stop in the corner bar
for a Bloody Mary
A seat in the VIP section
to watch the last set
An aging Swedish photographer
dancing with a man wearing
blue suede shoes and matching tie
George Coleman onstage
Another August passing by.

everywhere is spring

You sing
about the sky
and the rain
and springtime love

I’ll do it for you
Whatever it takes
You will do it

Is there springtime
in Bodega Alley?
On East Broadway?
In my 13th floor

Does Spring
happen everywhere?
Or is it just for those
with love, money
and luck?

Maybe some of us
cannot afford Spring
We wear boots
and black jeans

Walk until it hurts

In New York City
Winter arrives on time
Settles into bones
on cellar doors
beneath the scaffolds

brings smells
of sweat and garbage

And the rich people
pronounce the seasons’
names as if they were verbs

Maybe Spring is reserved
for the fortunate few
who smile without coffee
and stained teeth

We wear black leather
all year round

Walk until it hurts,
and walk some more.

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