We are all drawn to Paterson
In the eternal dance between
Father and son
Baptized and blessed under
Electric waterfalls
Time doesn’t move but
We age slowly
Buildings crumble and fall
Like skeletons the
Skin of this city peeling
I would burrow into the
Silken history of
Hard work and calloused hands
But there are things to do
And there are suns to set
And there is no place
For us here

Chewing Sand

These walls shout platitudes at me
But I know they don’t say
What they mean
The truth is hiding somewhere in between
Layers of wheat paste or spray paint
Where memories have been forgotten
And the history of a city screams silently
Beneath new urban facades
Lies we’re always telling ourselves
Our surroundings reflecting all
The things we want to be and all the
Things we’ve covered up in haste
To forget the sadness and grit
Of a lifetime

Bone Marrow

These walls have been
Taped together and protect us from
The detritus we’ve shed in
Restless abandonment. Amid
Trash bags, bookshelves, Edison’s radios,
And collections of The Grapes of Wrath,
We tell ourselves we’re practicing
For future excavations while, instead,
We seek reason to shed our old skins
And erase the memory of who we were
Forgetting that memory lives not
In the skin, but swims deep down
In the marrow of the bones.


I know I’ve laughed
Under gray skies as the
Snow fell, lifting my
Tongue to snowflakes,
Cold sea air.
I feel the wind jostle
My mind, eating sand and dirt
To feel weighted down to
This solemn earth.
Feet drag over
Golden-brown coastlines
Leaving traces ready to be
Windswept and rusted over the
Course of years where they are
Swallowed whole, tussled, and
Regurgitated on the shore:
Like Piscean fish in a net
Like mermaids sprouting wings
Only to discover they can’t fly.


We trace our fingers along continents
Outlining the borders of our wombs
In tears and ignorance
While our lips turn into buds
Which blossom into mini pouts that
Pucker in our rose-hued amniotic fluids
Though the ocean lives within us
We remain blind to the future and the
Words that bind weigh sovereign
On our minds and bodies
Waiting just waiting until we can learn
If these bodies are ours or if
Our lives are to be devoted to the
Choices we never could have made

Brooklyn Baby

Instead of waking up
I’ll just let the sun drape over me
Stretching across this room
From morning into afternoon
Squirming under the light that
Fills these corners, the peeling
Paint revealing layers of history
Little girl sneezes and tears that
Escape these plasticine bubbles
That is not my hair
These are not my things
My refection is there moving
Throughout this room with me
Wondering at the thought of
Hide and seek with my self