Monthly Archives: January 2011

at yoga to the people (on 12 saint marks place and 3rd ave) you told me a secret, i almost felt beautiful – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 

 

it sounded like a toy rabbit.

 


*”the skin horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. he was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. he was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. for nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the skin horse understand all about it.

‘what is real?’ asked the rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before nana came to tidy the room. ‘does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?’

‘real isn’t how you are made,’ said the skin horse. ‘it’s a thing that happens to you. when a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become real.’

‘does it hurt?’ asked the rabbit.

‘sometimes,’ said the skin horse, for he was always truthful. ‘when you are real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘it doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the skin horse. ‘you become. it takes a long time. that’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. but these things don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.’

‘i suppose you are real?’ said the rabbit. and then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the skin horse might be sensitive.

but the skin horse only smiled.”*

 


thank you aja.

 

 


at pies ‘n’ thighs (on 166 s 4th st and driggs ave) you alliteratively described my motivation for writing as “predictably pretentious” – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 *

-liar-

*by an artist*

(frankie leone, just a man)

*

*i’m a liar. my nature dictates the untrue. during developmental years deceit was my paint. believers were my canvases.

utilizing fiction as my medium i claimed to be an artist.

i brushed a mirage of myself that fucked deep, inspiring stolen moans and gasps. hollow ideas illustrated money into my pants pockets. numbing powders and liquids drove the process.*

*

*taking notes on my work, determined to be heard, was a reserved critic; truth.

on desolate streets it analyzed the world i’d created through my eyes. critical tears whispered down my face. unheard, truth shared the only meaning with me- there was none.

the lies didn’t stop. my fallacy-based painting career continued. truth’s review did too. it grew louder. whispered tears turned to friends turning their backs in a speaking voice. near the critique’s end my family recognized hopelessness in a scream.

the lies were sloppy. my work was gaudy, forced, and tasteless. the ugliness of my muddy lies moved truth.

the time for words ended. my critic panned me publicly with a haymaker. thick dishonesty painted over my features cracked.*

*

*this crack sounded like lost freedom. it sounded like a sky watched through the tiny window of shatter-proof glass in an eight by eight room. my brush, still wet with lies, flew from a limp grip.

it sounded like a truth. this review brought me to my knees.*

*

*in recent years new paint’s drying over a better life. still, truth’s tearful commentary whispers my new coats of lies are mediocre.

my most objective critic’s changed with its subject. its found a clearer voice. these long fingers.

truth’s vocal chords vibrates pens across pages and characters onto screens. respect for truth’s criticism has replaced fear. the words make the lies feel exhausting. they make the starving artist cliché seem less romantic. i’m starting to consider a real job.

this is why you’re reading these words.*

*


i watched my fantasy of you rise then set at the blackbird parlour on 197 bedford ave and n6th st – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

-dusk and dawn on bedford ave-

*by someone who doesn’t control the sun*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 *

*he sprawls without thought

-

relieved of things

he has

doesn’t have

is getting

and isn’t going to get

-

surprisingly

no cigarette burns in his hand

no warm feeling’s in his gut

-

from bottom-shelf gin

or middle of the cooler beer

-

someone paid more money

than he makes in a month

-

years and years ago

for the beat-up couch

upholstered with dirty-gold velour

-

he’s half-laying half-sitting on

-

it’s worthless now

but the moments transpiring

are etched on platinum tablets

-

filling the pockets of his faded jeans

-

she reclines unaware

of the same impediments

-

but that’s not out of her norm

-

her clothes are torn and

self scissor-cut hair’s a little greasy

-

it hasn’t seen a brush in a while

-

someone seeing these facts

only as words

-

as ink suspended on paper

-

might not understand they help make her

the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen

-

his long frame bearing a few marks

-

maybe a little too skinny reclines

-

hers the same

does the same

-

they don’t speak

about what was

what is

and what might be

-

regret seems to have forgotten them

-

he looks at her

at her face

-

and has unflawed confidence regret’s never

had a clear recollection of her

-

he’s thrilled to feel

like he’s a couple feet from her

instead of the usual miles away

-

he’s accustomed to watching

her through a scratched spy-glass from

-

even when they’re in the same room

-

her face turns toward him

-

the world-warping blue of her irises

that at times he fools himself into thinking

is the surface of a frozen lake

-

flows into him like a tropical river

-

a film of perspiration

on the skin of her

shoulders neck and face

-

says something he likes too much

-

she’s not drunk

but’s had a drink or two

acquiring that look of guiltless passion

-

rarely present

without some liquid forgetfulness

-

her cigarette burns comfortably

and the embers in his shadowy green eyes

smolder as he bites his lip

-

this man has too many words

-

sometimes in his mind

they’re all he has

-

she takes them from him

bringing breathless joy

-

something happens

the only thing that could(n’t) happen

-

she sighs and flashes almost white teeth

in a devious but almost white-spirited smile

-

taking her time

-

before bringing herself to a slouched sit

leaning forward and resting elbows

on her knees

-

with a relaxed expression

blanketing her features

-

she points her .45 caliber eyes at his

and pulls the trigger

-

nodding her chin upwards

not rushing the gesture

-

this man’s learned

to not trust

-

a dishonest perception

-

but even if it’s lying maliciously

during these ticks of the second hand

-

he’s joyfully swallowing the deceptive hook

to the bottom of his empty stomach

-

and welcoming her bullet

into his green eyes full of scars

-

his expression’s an unmarked page

in a new notebook

-

feeling the truthless hook

nestle into his stomach

-

overtaken with ecstasy

-

he nods his chin once

-

doing what he’s never had the courage to

she stands

she walks

and bends her knees

-

lowering herself

-

to tug on his shoulder

coaxing him to a sitting position

-

and sits down beside him

the entire length of her outer thigh

connecting with his

-

raising her toned arm

an arm with pretty scars

-

she rests her elbow on his bare shoulder

-

running the fingers of her hand

across his stubbly jaw-line

-

his eyes are scared

because this moment will end

-

that’s what they do

-

but hers aren’t

-

she keeps them open

not breaking eye contact

-

pressing lips

that pull on rollie smokes

-

lips he often swears

he’d give his eyes and thumbs to know

-

against his*

*

*this lie of a moment

is an idea

-

within the walls of his skull

-

it whittles itself into his duskly mind

while he sits alone

-

in an empty blackbird parlour

in north brooklyn

-

gazing out the window

watching the rain

-

beat bedford avenue

-

as the hopeful fantasy lingers

in the twilight of his consciousness

-

but staying true to reality

-

it fades

and is left faintly visible

-

by its inevitable dawn.*

*


i smiled from my bike, you stood in front of john varvatos on 315 bowery & 2nd st – m4w – 26 – (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 

 

-captain ahab-

*by someone that’s fond of the expression

“it is what it is”*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 

 

*the sea of asphalt before him

feels no need

 

to offer promises

explanations

or excuses

 

he understands it

and subdues his expectations

 

steering his two wheeled ship

through the streets and avenues

with no compass

 

it’s an unnecessary instrument

because the eyes of an idea

 

filled with a blue

the sky couldn’t hope to imitate

on her best day

 

float on the horizon

simultaneously guiding him

and eclipsing his streets

 

this boy

with the face

scars

shadowy eyes

and tattoos of a man

 

is like most sailors

following the sea

with respect and love

 

but differs from the other men of his class

sailing his ten speed schooner

with a different purpose

 

he follows those eyes

shaming the skyline

 

to a destination

existing only in his skull

 

conscious of this

he sails

 

through flatbush avenue

starr street

the williamsburg bridge

dupont street

and kent avenue

 

chasing himself

to the ends of his city

and back again

 

there’s probably a logical course

on the shrink-wrapped map

in his torn messenger bag

 

but he’s never had use

for the logical

reasonable

practical

or factual

 

he feels the wind

on his face

 

content with being

lost at sea

 

continuing a warm pursuit

through the borough of lost boys.*

 

 

 


me: dude bleaching his soul at giant laundromat on bedford ave and 173 n 3rd st – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 

 

-compassionless clorox at giant laundromat-

*by someone considering giving up

to the drop-off service*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 

 

*“skin’s the largest organ”

 

trick trivia people use

trying to feel superior to others

 

there’ve been moments

i’ve longed for an organ transplant

 

white and pink lines

not the kind for forgetting, mark me

along with ink and indentations

 

they can’t be escaped

because i’m the most secure prisoner

 

one shackled with thoughts

in the rikers of my mind*

 

 

*she’s wasn’t staying gold

but was wrapped in bronze

 

i stared, trying to conceal it

 

she had lines, like mine

a little ink, and some prettier

 

imperfections

 

my green eyes full of rollie smoke

kept exhaling on her

 

seeing a 40 ounce of pain

a six pack of passion

and a fifth gentle sexiness

 

she was shorter in stature

but kissing the night sky in spirit

 

she kindly concealed disinterest

the best she could, which impressed me

not because of it’s (failed) effectiveness

 

because the effort was put forth

 

my city, the bitter-sweet apple, always

wears dark sunglasses and headphones

 

she poised on a cheap wooden chair

pulled clear of an expensive wooden desk

 

projecting her raw-hide persona

on the deep red walls of the small room

 

christmas lights were strung (out?) lazily

through its center while pot stained the air

 

despite my desires i wasn’t

close enough to smell

the beer coloring her breath

 

she spoke with aggressive staccatos

arguing for causes i deemed hopeless

 

or uninteresting

 

i spoke with malcontent

not believing my words

 

subtly and rudely implying

she didn’t understand what we discussed

 

something she easily detected

 

cringing inwardly

i watched her grow to dislike me

 

for a reason i don’t understand

*(A LIE)*

i kept driving our conversation this way

 

even though a filament in my chest

would glow when i saw and heard

 

this woman be a girl*

 

 

*i dump hundreds of dollars of clorox

into the washing machine

at giant laundromat on bedford & north 3rd

 

rotting the fabric of my spirit

desperately thinking my soul

will soon be a colgate smile

 

knowing it will always be

slush in a brooklyn street

 

not long before our argument

this woman was a girl

 

speaking worn velvet to me

about a crush on some boy

 

that from the sound of it

had a bleached soul

or one never soiled

 

i was and am envious

 

this elusive girl usually covered

from head-to-toe in a rawhide persona

 

sometimes with openings

for those eyes and that smile

 

never took it all off for me alone

 

i laid on her bed in dirty skinny jeans

and an undershirt feeling like guilty passion

 

my lanky frame writhing attempting

to relieve discomfort in my back

 

trying to lie myself into forgetting

 

she didn’t want

 

my long fingers in her hair

or my lips on her neck

 

quickly giving up

 

my body kept writhing

on cotton sheets

 

by itself

 

as a sensual woman and pretty girl

covered in rawhide, took it all off

 

from across the room

 

speaking of some boy

with a bleached soul

 

i begrudgingly accepted

unable to forget

 

a poor man’s fortune’s being wasted

at giant laundromat on bedford and north 3rd.*

 

 


i still smile about how you blew off that drunk guy at the levee on 212 berry st and n 3rd st – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

-our scars-

*by someone who doesn’t do romantic comedies*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 *

*her dirty blonde hair’s in the arachnid of my hand. the digits of my other move down the side of her face. i look into her eyes and can’t decipher them. i try desperately.

i hope to conjure a cinematic moment but expect failure. in a voice my roommates won’t hear through thin walls i say, “tell me something.”

there’re moments of comfortable silence. she answers, “i love the way you touch me.”

for vain reasons i ask, “how do i touch you?”

she pauses and creates the moment without me. blowing away the dust of negative expectation she exhales, “you reach into me and shake me out of myself.” 


it’s said slowly and without deliberateness.

i’ve heard men with ivy-league educations and platinum card filled wallets stand up the truth. i’ve watched hustlers with hearts colder than the metal in their waists stomp it into the gutter. she speaks in a voice familiar with silver polish inches from my face. i believe her.

her words and i are shamed. my only response is, “that’s beautiful.”*

*

*it might be in a time before my memory, but my skin’s never looked like fate and fortune forgave it. hers looks like it’s never offended either. at first glance.

per usual, my judgment’s wrong. she has scars too.

earlier, but still after twelve, our breathing begins to accelerate in my dim bedroom. i see them for the first time in the glow of street-lights filtering through my window. fearing the obvious i ask in a whisper, “how’d you get those?”

she looks into my eyes without much of an expression on her pretty face. her voice rustles, “i made them.”

anguish, sadness, and guilt sweep over me like spilt whiskey on a cherished record. i’m only a man. we stop speaking. our breathing gets heavier. eventually it returns to normal.*

*

per usual i stare at the ceiling. the living dead.

still whispering she speaks, “do the scars bother you?”

lying isn’t my tightest game. i go with what i know.

“yes, but not for the reason you think. it bothers me you were in that much pain.”

we kiss. with no cloth touching my body i tell pieces of my truth. pieces that mar skin that’s made a few ignored apologies.

“…this one is for my ma and little sis…

…this one happened when i was 16. i got jumped…

…this one is for my old man. it’s his favorite waitress…

…this one happened when they cut a tumor out of my chest…

…this one’s for nickie noche. he was taken four years ago. a stand-up guy…” 


i go on and on. it takes too long.*

*

*we whisper more in the morning. i need to know.

“when you first saw me why did you want me?”

she answers, “i didn’t see your nice clothes, mean scars, or pretty tattoos. i saw your face. i trusted it.”

i feel a small wave of panic crash onto me.

“i’m not an easy person to like. people i care for are forced to dislike me. i mean it that it makes me glow that you’re into me. try to believe me when i say i don’t want to watch you to walk away but i can’t promise you won’t.”

she puts her arms around my skinny waist. she draws herself closer. staying true to our whispers she says, “i know.”*

*


that polish vs. black street fight in greenpoint was fucking awesome bro – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 *

-commitment issues-

*by someone committed*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 *

*a friend and i

watch the three compete

on the sidewalk of lorimer street

 -

from my burgundy-ish car

 -

sufficiently aged

scratched

dented

and foreign*

 *

*two polish kids, eighteen or nineteen

one black dude, mid twenties

 -

the kids’ mouths run at full sprints

 -

the black guy’s jogs leisurely

unintimidated, amused

 -

until, “get outta our neighbuhhood nigguh”

 -

trips off the tongue of a pole

as he walks away, still speaking

 -

eyebrows on a coffee-colored face

flex a shocked expression upwards

 -

before a warm smile cuts it in two

 -

he rams his chest

into the courageous mouth’s owner

 -

face to face

his words hustling in earnest

 -

“please do sumthin’ stupe-it

i’m muthuh fuckin’ beggin’ you puhrowgee

please please do sumthin’ stupe-it”

 -

one shooting track star nervously spectates

 -

while the confronted kid loses

all the breath that

drove ground-covering words

 -

and bolts to sanctuary in the corner bar

 -

with his luminous smile the black guy shines

a commentators spot-light on the other competitor

 -

wordlessly observing the lack of heart in this race

 -

the remaining kid drops out with no dignity

walking with anxious speed up the block*

 *

*i share my thoughts

on the concluded sporting event

 -

into rollie smoke my friend’s

hung through the interior of my car

 -

“fucking terrible form

 -

whether it’s to

some guy in the street

or a lover in bed

 -

come correctly or don’t come at all

 -

those dudes have serious commitment issues”

 -

my friend smiles in agreement

while i turn the ignition key

in charitable applause.*

*


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