Bronx Unabridged

black lines of script

bleed into cheap yellow notebooks

line by line like freezing stars

falling harsh in an uninhabited

wilderness. Cigarette smoke crawls

from the barstools, past the worn

felt pool table, out the half-open

fire exit to the gray concrete

sidewalk up six floors to the

propped window pane where I watch

the workaday world go from bottle

to hostile in a few short seconds.

August in another brick hot borough.

The radio is on low. The tea glass leaves

circles of condensation on the coffee table.

A hoarse yell bolts upward. The heat

sends the air conditioner into a strained

frenzy. Panhandlers hold empty soup cans

out toward the uninterested foot traffic.

An average evening. On a forgettable day.

Then I turn to a haphazard stack

of cheap yellow notebooks to puncture them

with similar observations. Removed from

the brash bar crowd. Neon storefronts steal

sleep. I can't swallow or see the ocean.

It's dark. The lightbulbs hang dormant.

black lines of script bleed...