I like the expression "bitter cold";
I like the idea of winter holding a grudge,
a grudge so deep that every time it sees you,
it spits in your face and mutters under its breath,
"Fuckin' cowboys."


"Hang on, I'm sorry, one sec;
'You're gonna take the first exit off the bridge,
no, the first, stay in the outside lane
and head across the intersection and take a
left on Howard; no, Howard; Howard,
and take Howard all the way down.
I'll tell you when to stop, thanks.'
Anyway, what were we talking about?"


I would stop global warming If it were up to me,
of course I would, but not just yet -
I would give it enough time to make New York in winter
a little more like Dallas and a little less
like the outer shell of an iron lung.


I've discovered that whiskey tastes better
when it's cooled just slighly
by the melting snow
that drips off the end of your nose
and into my glass.


"Listen hun, I'm sorry but I couldn't fit your skis in the car -
every time I turned a corner they poked into the next lane, and
I couldn't reach around them to turn the radio down.

"I tried tying them to the roof but the ski racks you tacked on at the dealership
to make it look like we were one of the few families
who really did climb rock walls and fly and shit in our SUV
were, it turned out, good for only that and for nothing else -
they were held on with rubber cement.

"I'm thinking we should just fly to Aruba and buy what we need when we get there."


You know what's halfway between here and there?
Two snowstorms, twenty-six inches worth, a sheet of ice,
a frozen bucket of water under a frozen tap,
one hundred ninety miles of icy road surface
and the best damn coffee on the planet.

You know what else?
My hands are cold.


I learned while working in a factory
to love serial numbers. Their gift 
is memory.
On a matrix switcher I found
stamped in metal
of a woman whose touch
I still feel if I try. I tried.
I touched the dry powder-coat:
it felt
like skin.


Rescuing someone from a life
is easy.
Appear to them 
as you would earth
to a man on a boat


(pretend to be buying groceries)


I grow plants.
It was not for you, once.

Leaves touch light,
light becomes sugar.

So your gestures build, I will say.
Your light, my sugar -
leaves touch light

This will happen,
    all of it.


If together we lit the sun
you would stay cold
because I would cover you.

If together we swallowed the ocean
you would stay empty
because I would drink from you.

If together we made mountains
you would stay clean
because I would build from you.

If together we died
you would stay mine
because I would remember you.


Between two bodies
temperature does not combine,
only average. So

too with hearts, I will
find without saying, the time for
lessons having moved

into the quiet,
which feels now like it needs to
break, like leather, like



I learned while working in a factory
to love serial numbers. Their gift
is memory.
On a matrix switcher I found
stamped in metal
of a woman whose touch
I still feel if I try. I tried.
I touched the dry powder-coat:
it felt
like steel.


1. my grandmother's ghost huddled
on my birthday in my bones, fought
to say hello to her black family in
the bathroom of the funeral home.
i tried but nothing came up,
not til the train station,
but she could never be angry
at anyone.

2. love is an exhibitionist.
love will want to show itself often,
undressing in your windows.
love is a dog waiting to bowl
you over. love is a spell i'm
not whispering in your ear.
love doesn't listen

3. you are a queen no matter the
season. when your room was a womb
your tiny mother ate diamonds to
keep the morning sickness away.
there is no ukranian word for
uncertainty. your eyes are
candles in a circle on the floor.
your hair speaks in tongues, grows
inches in the moonlight. your
beauty overexerts itself.

4. this one is left blank for you.
this is the space you would fill if
you opened your moving boxes, lifted
me out and blew off the dust. i don't
know what your reasons are,
but they are not good enough.
you are killing us. you are.

5. stay out of my dreams.
they are not you anyway.
they are sometimes sweet.

6. dear Ashley,
keep your palms open.
buy tiny plates. eat like a child.
stretch. plant, even while the snow
is three feet high. plant, even while
your knees are creaking like a door.
plant, even while sadness is pulling
at your pantleg, at your fingers, at
your cheeks. speak to them kindly;
all things grow better that way.

February 9, 2015

Headed upstairs to take a shower before going to work
On step number three or four, I get a bad case of double vision
And stumble backwards onto the landing
This is the third or fourth time in the past couple of weeks that my vision has been impaired
I lay on the couch to clear my head and when it does, call my doctor
He advises I should go to the emergency room and get some tests done

February 10, 2015

Admitted to the brain/stroke ward
Where I’m the seemingly youngest person on the floor
As night falls, all around me the “confused patients” are sundowning
As indicated by the bells and whistles going off every ten or fifteen minutes
And the nurses rush in to try and comfort their lost minds and souls
Even though they don’t know where they are, they just want to go home

February 11, 2015

The day is chocked full of CAT Scans, MRI’s and echocardiograms
And while I wait for the results to come back
The bed I’m confined to seems like a torture rack
After what seems like forever, a doctor comes in with a dour look on his face
He shows me a picture of my brain and the spot on it looks out of place
I hear the words cerebral infarction for the first time and reality starts to set in

February 12, 2015

An angioplasty is scheduled for sometime today
And the dye reveals that the veins leading to my brain are clogged
One at seventy percent, the other at a hundred
I try my hand at some gallows humor
But the neurologist is having none of it
And when I’m left alone with only my thoughts, a few tears dribble down my cheeks.

February 13, 2015

Another day, another angioplasty
This time, a stent is inserted into one of the veins so the blood can get where it needs to
They go in through my right femoral artery and I’m awake throughout
I try and make small talk with the nurses
And ask them if they’ll sign their work once they’re done
I’m surprised when they oblige

February 14, 2015

I’m now in the invasive care unit waiting to be discharged
When my time comes, I’m given a set of instructions to follow and prescriptions to fill
And I make way home, much to the delight of my two cats
It’s well below freezing as I look out the window to my snow covered backyard
And I see a flash of red against the otherwise white background
I see a solitary out of place cardinal perched on a telephone line and I think to myself
“Everything is going to be okay”

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