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.*

*


i was the lousy painter walking to 151 kent avenue from north greenpoint – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

published by thewgnews.com

 *

-christ on kent avenue-

*by someone desperately trying

to “get off the cross” erected in his mind*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 *

*she doesn’t smell like hope. we’d smell the same if i’d been born beautiful.

she’s sitting in the passenger seat of a rental van i paid a hundred dollars for at a williamsburg penske lot. the television i don’t own could show a pacific coast.

its water would massage my eyes with only half the strength of the blue filling her irises.

doesn’t matter. i’m on the clock and watching the road. not admiring the ocean with a corona.

at a light she looks into the shadows in my eye-sockets. i nearly believe she sees what i want her to.

we ride over the williamsburg bridge. it’s early. the street-lights are a ways off. i’m grateful there’s no coins on those eyes while i ferry her out of the borough of lost boys onto the island of broken promises.

i ask what her passion is.

“i write too,” she offers.

when asked to describe her poetry she replies, “dark and lustful.”

it’s been a while since i’ve been in a church. still, my thoughts turn from poland springs to dark and lustful boones farm wine.

my best impression of a gentleman endures.

she expresses gratitude for the paid service i’m providing. i respond.

“you’re welcome. i’m glad i got to find out who you are,” and tap on the breaks of my boat loaded with her worldly possessions at the red light on clinton and delancey.*

*

*“will you paint my bedroom tomorrow? it’s small and the ceiling doesn’t need painting. i don’t want to deal with it. just need my security deposit. two-hundred dollars? tomorrow at five?”

she doesn’t know. i’d paint her whole building to barter time there. even alone and working as the help.

my features are heavy. the crocodile smile disturbing my stubble appreciates the break. it adjusts to speak.

“love to. i’ll be there.”*

*

*it’s noon two days later.

i’m out of bed feeling like things are going to happen for me. three days of work gave me sleep that usually only happens underneath headstones.

i slouch on a broken couch upholstered with dirty gold velour. my attire consist of an undershirt, grime-stained bandanna, glasses, and thoughtlessly low shorts. it’s all covered in paint stains. pronounced hip-bones of a body momma complains is too skinny are exposed.

the girls next door are making everyone french toast. i haven’t had breakfast beyond cereal in what seems like years.

a delfonics song breaks from my phone. fingers covered in primer paint reach for it.  they silence “hey love.”

“morning.”

“good morning frankie,” my piece of metal and plastic passes along in an edged tone.

“how’s the paint looking? everything ok?”

“it doesn’t look finished. there’s paint on the floor and furniture. i’m about to cry.”

“i’m getting on my bike now. i’ll fix it. be there in twenty minutes.”

verizon wireless yawns behind a executioner mask. its axe falls.

“i’m not concerned with the money. keep it. i’m doing it myself. good bye frankie.”

the call ends. that’s what they do.

something inside twists and snaps. something inside freezes and shatters. i want to believe it’s my heart.

untrue. i’m saturated with an anguish that’s been with me much longer than her. 

something in my back pocket’s nauseated.

folds of vinyl alligator skin bought in a jersey thrift shop for a buck fifty vomit two-hundred dollars into an envelope. my warped romantic ideas dash towards a similar restroom.

a bic pen places an apologetic plea for acceptance across it. my camouflaged hope for sympathy colors a sunset of sincerity a muddy brown.

in reform school an older boy with home-made tattoos on his face passed a life-long see-saw of half-truth to me-

“all chicas are bitches or whores except the virgin de guadalupe and our moms.”

the latter gave me an enormous box of mentos for my birthday. it’s shaped like a stack of printer paper. the envelope finds its way inside.

i borrow a bicycle built for someone who isn’t six-feet four-inches of lanky limb. its owner’s head’s is level with my sternum. she urges me to stay calm.

“it’s not the end of the world.”

a shaking hand of clarity floats in my din of frenzied emotion. it uncocks a saturday night special of misplaced rage. i don’t have the courage to put it against my temple.*

*

*it’d be liberating to paint the logo of bitch or whore on my idea of her. i search my mind for the stencil.

lady luck smirks with a dash of sadism. it isn’t there.

my vision’s clear enough to see a near-stranger wanting to help a broke guy. her intention wasn’t to get fucked.

i start pedaling down the long stretch of road along north brooklyn’s water-front. the sky’s cloudless, electric blue, and pelting over-enthusiastic rays. i don’t interject it’s too rough.

it’s caught up in our moment’s passion.

i try to believe i’m peddling towards an act of fate-altering devotion. i try to believe i’m peddling towards affirmations of nobility and beauty. i try to believe i’m peddling towards personifications of hope and salvation.

all bullshit. the present’s fogged the thick-rimmed glasses on my face.

it’s ok. i won’t need them soon. lasik surgery waits in greenpoint with a girl who has enough money but no time or emotion to spare.

i’ve stuffed two-hundred dollars of forgettable romance movie into an envelope. mismanaged funds financing delusion-fueled melodrama.*

*

*in the suburbs there’re paper-boys. i never knew one. through a blind-fold of fear i couldn’t see another way.

sight isn’t needed to wring green paper out of flexible morals. it’s been a long time since i’ve felt the rush (guilt, and consequences) of stuffing someone else’s livelihood into my pocket. old memories still crawl around the inside of my skull- ugly little flies with their wings ripped off.

there’s no room for a de-feathered swan.

the fact i wasn’t a paper-boy shines. my tattooed arm tosses the package of refined sugar, unwelcome apology, and ten worn portraits of andrew jackson past her building’s front fence towards its door.

lady luck sips a martini and turns her head in disinterest. dupont street’s asphalt writes her fake phone number on the cocktail napkin of my flesh.

my elbow shreds. my wrists let loose crimson from gravel-filled scrapes. four gashes appear along my legs. skin on my ankles and tops of my feet take a vacation. worn canvas slip-ons soak up a long swig of me.

part of the truth is i don’t want her to see these things. i pick up the rest of it off the ground almost as fast as myself-

this beautiful stranger might see the extent of my ability to lie to myself.

i throw the chain-less bicycle across my shoulders and bolt from those eyes. i don’t realize i’m running blind more than figuratively.

i leave my dignity, delusion, blood, and glasses on dupont street.*

*

*later i’ll lie out of shame why i’m not riding the pint-sized bicycle home. it’d lower the widow-maker’s blade on this long hour of self-pity.

i leave the chain off and carry it on my back. red-smeared hands hold it level with my shoulders.

i want blood. i want tears. i want a narcissistic performance of agony for an audience of one.

i want to walk along the water.*

*

*they see me before i see them.

a teenager with androgynous-features and man with a camera. the smell of success bought with someone else’s credit-card fills my resentful nostrils.

i have to give it to them- they pull it off. the noon sun looks good on their hollywood personas. the man with the camera speaks accented words intended to be heard by me.

“when we got in the cab on 11th avenue did you think we’d find ourselves a hip jesus with a bicycle walking to martyrdom on the other side of this river?”

the model’s response is in french. i don’t understand the language. none-the-less, it irks me more than the photographer’s unwelcome playfulness.

more sound-waves find their way out of the big deal, “hey handsome, have you considered modeling? without all that blood and dirt you might be able to kill a few ladies with that face and body. all those tattoos too! may i have a photo of my lord and savior?”

this isn’t flattering. or insulting. it’s only singing a love-song to a special kind of vanity. it’s an offer to prove this hasn’t happened only in my mind.

my stride stops. he raises his camera to etch another soul. there’s no flash. i wince after the camera’s mechanical noise anyway.

finished, he approaches to put a business card in my shorts’ pocket. i ignore the lack of boundaries.

“so, who’s your roman cheri? the one that left you to walk to the hill all by yourself! delivery truck? pot-hole?”

i start walking. under my breath i speak from the old testament. my words are worth fifteen pieces of silver.

“me.”*

*

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i got a text at brooklyn bowl (on 61 wythe ave and n 11th st) during the roots show- “lolz obsessions a bad look on ya hun” – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 

 

-obsession-

*by someone that’s lost the will to forget*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 

*streetlights

 

desperation for

their interest

and forgiveness*

 

*night skies

 

and answers

they’ve never offered*

 

*filter cigarettes

 

smoked by stunning people

unconcerned with ten dollars a pack

and shortening life spans*

 

*scars

 

how they can be smiled into

or create a loft building phantom

in a hip mask*

 

*sunrises and roses

 

and the beauty

of hopeful hopelessness*

 

*the l(ove) train

 

packed with attractive strangers

shoulder to shoulder

standing alone*

 

*“good” ideas after midnight

 

and desperate acts

that follow them*

 

*the school yard bully

 

finishing the onion’s crossword

comfortable in the flames of an eden

she’s set ablaze

 

a spoiled child

who can’t understand

 

herself*

 

*unrealistic expectations

 

people on pedestals

and the agonizing interstate

to a moment of truth*

 

*eyes

 

light enough to see

deep into a soul*

 

*walking my streets

 

when the sun tires

of brooklyn*

 

*151 kent avenue

 

the promised land

inside walls

bleeding noise*

 

*momma

 

the virgen de guadulupe*

 

*apartment 1**

 

and wearing a broken crown

on a silent throne

in apartment 2** *

 

* ***** ****** *******

 

a mist taking form

with eyes that eclipse my streets*

 

*brooklyn new york

 

the only locale

it’s magical to be lost in*

 

*sex

 

my chrome forty-five

in this gray wilderness

 

or

 

my ornate mask

worn over sincere features*

 

*the coney island bound q(ueen)

 

and tears on a scarred face

behind mirrored shades

awakened by an idea.*

 

 


at the manhattan inn (on 632 manhattan ave and nassua ave) i was envious of your picturesque brooklyn brunch – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 

 

valerie’s favorite.


-i meant to call you but i’ve just been and i’m kind of-

*by someone that’s over being over things*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 

*i meant to call you but

 

things are crazy with nights ending alone except for the spinning walls

things are crazy glaring enviously at that couple in mccarren park

things are crazy clock-watching knowing nothing thrilling is at home

things are crazy staring longingly at strangers on the l train

 

i’ve just been

 

so busy keeping everyone at arms length when i actually have time

so busy eating at anna maria’s alone pretending to enjoy solitude

so busy convincing acquaintances i have important things happening

so busy searching missed connections claiming it’s only for entertainment

 

and i’m kind of

 

over hanging with groups of happy people at coney island feeling alone

over searching for newness and excitement when there’s youtube/youporn

over feeling inadequate when there’s remarks to be made about hipsters

over being just another human with desire, fear, obsession and hope

 

i’m sure you can understand.*

 

 


i was infatuated with who i needed you to be on the willyburg bridge – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 *

-hand tattoos and a creep staring-

(predecessor of -christ on kent avenue-)

*by someone who believes

without a dream new york forgets you*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 *

*“i’m afraid of her.”

“why?” he says, irritated.

“she’s gorgeous.”

“that’s ridiculous. it’s just a face, an ass, and legs. she’s got no control over it. i could take it all away easy. the razor in the glove-box would handle the job in a few seconds.”

silence settles over us. we stop at the light on broadway and havemeyer street. using a rolling machine he makes a cigarette quickly. he isn’t rushing. just fast.

the fingers handling bugler tobacco are attached to hands covered in colorful tattoos. the ink’s fading like an innocence bled gray decades ago. i remember machines at bushwick laundromats.

one of my calloused hand grips the steering wheel of the van i drive for him. the other feels stubble on my face. my thoughts vibrate with her.

but not really. only an idea seizures through my brain. an idea that won’t be chased the way i pursue it.

inaccurate statement. there’s no pursuit. through dim lights lining the dive bar of my mind i’m staring. i hope it’ll notice and sprint towards me.

the sun relaxes in a sparsely clouded sky. no angry glare.

my disinterest needs a work out. it’s gotten flabby. i flex it by taking off prescription glasses and putting on scratched aviators.  the skyline becomes hazy.

we start across the williamsburg bridge. i release my thoughts. 

“i need to be in love.”

his eye-brows reach up in puzzlement. the cherry of his lit rollie grows long and orange .

this van’s not the place. this afternoon’s not the time. this guy in the passenger seat’s not the audience. that was not the thing to say.

he’s made it through some unforgiving alleyways and avenues. dues have been paid to my city. once and a while i consider his words. 

exhaling thick smoke he speaks in an authoritative tone. his voice is slow.

“there’s ideas blowing bubbles in your skull but listen my man- you’re in a place, at a time, where there’s no room for unrealistic motherfuckers.

“especially one’s trying to live poetry that’ll always pays less than me.”

silence takes control again. feeling nothing i decide to not react. the conversation turns to mutual acquaintances and music we feel lukewarm about.*

*


years ago we chain restaurant hustled in times square together – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 

 

-mary magdalene might’ve drank black label too-

*by someone that’ll always

feel more for sinners than saints*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 

 

“i’m twenty

but people assume

i’m twenty-five

 

i don’t bother correcting them”

 

she said with a smile

that seemed genuine

 

as waves of sadness swept over me

waves that were clean and foamy

 

but devoid of life

 

i remember

 

our first conversation

she said without shame

 

“i drink and make mistakes”

 

making it clear

these mistakes

were coital

 

hearing it was thrilling

 

like dirty magazines

found by an adolescent boy

in the top shelf of dad’s dresser

 

her obliviousness

and simultaneous

consciousness

 

of her downward spiral was

endearing and heart-wrenching

 

like a smile on a dying child

 

she was attractive

 

but her beauty

and sex appeal

 

were separate

 

her face and figure

were what they were

 

thought-provoking

 

but the morbid beauty i saw

was in her eyes voice and expression

 

she told me how she hustled

a liquor store clerk smiling

 

mischievously

 

i was enthralled

not-to-mention

entertained

 

i smiled

i listened

i twisted inside

 

when one knows that agony

it only entertains to a point

 

then you remember

then you know

then you feel

 

“i got the big bottle of johnny walker”

she said with a 10 karat gold smile.

 

 


when we made out at matchless (on driggs ave and 557 manhattan ave) i cock blocked myself ; your friend was more my style – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 

 

-to seekers of a truth-

*by someone who lights his own smokes*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 

 

*some interpret

 

trusting perception

observing fact as truth

 

and mindfulness to the

approval of other beings

 

signs of self awareness

 

these putrid scents of incense

might have meaning only

 

after windows are flung open

and ashes are scattered freely*

 

 

*when gratitude replaces revulsion

the devil takes the needle off the record

 

unable to bump and grind to

melodies of gangrened thought

 

tortured gyrations are disingenuous

when seething disgust is amputated*

 

 

*beautiful people

look like sex and cigarettes

 

is what’s said in our streets

 

by those who don’t know fucking

and haven’t smoked true brands*

 

 

*i’ve embraced better animals

than you’ve ever heard whispered of

 

wearing broken noses and dirty clothes

stretched across worthless furniture

in poorly heated kent avenue lofts

 

but i’ve seen the blind there too

who won’t dance with the devil

safely choosing records that

 

play tunes suited more for comfort

than unsterile reflections neglected.*


i was your chauffeur from lorimer and jackson st to a hip hop producers funeral in brownsville, bk – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 *

(published by freewilliamsburg.com)

 *

-ponce funeral home-

*by someone who’s found self-awareness

won’t get you on the l train without a swipe*

(frankie leone, just a man)

*

*i lied myself into thinking i did it for sex. this lie coursed through my veins and i believed it would’ve been better to have done it for sunrises and roses.

i see more truth now. i did it trying to feel a few rays from a sunrise and catch a whisp of a rose.

looking backwards from the end of the line i know i should’ve done it for sex.

she did it because she could. she did it because she knew i would.

we both did it because it was where we were.*

*

*she wears impure thought-inspiring skirts and red lipstick. it sticks to my lips without forgiveness. i wear scars and a version of my truth. she reads both through my eyes like a pulp novel.

i ask her why she likes me. she bites words into my earlobes, “i love the way you touch me.”

i love to touch her. especially her legs. in braille they tell me my favorite lies.*

*

*we’re in my dimly lit bedroom way past midnight. my left hand creeps across her features. she says to me, “you’re like a blind man.”

i tell her, “there’s a lot of dim lights in this city. they usually only tell half the truth, if any at all. i normally wouldn’t want to see anything you wouldn’t want me to. sorry baby, i’m reading your truth and i won’t ask for permission”

i know i’m lying. the darkness only betrays our silhouettes. still, i see the scoreboard shining brighter than the afternoon sun. it laughs onto both of us.

i know we’re both losing these frigid february weeks*

*

*she walks out of the cold and draws the door of my battered car shut. i put my lips on hers. they almost seem there. the corner of lorimer and jackson might feel embarrassed.

it has no reason to. our kiss is passionless. the fog on the windows is my faulty defrost.

we speak a lot about nothing. it’s time to shift the gears of my jalopy’s automatic transmission. i do, steering towards the fourth street-light on the left and straight on ‘til dusk.*

*

*following their usual m.o. the streets gusting around the outside of my car are disinterested. i sense they feel like an exhausted woman after work having a glass of wine at a neighborhood bar. the passengers of my 96′ toyota camry are tipsy players coming out of the shadows to get lucky.

it’s clear crossing the bushwick border into east new york the street-lights, glowing under the prematurely falling winter sun, are reaching into their purses for spray bottles of battery acid.*

*

*i know i don’t belong. i think she does too. not certain though.

the neighborhood smells like bodega beer on the concrete, the police blotter, and forgetfulness. this is ironic. no one standing outside our destination has forgotten a damn thing.

the sky’s gray and unconcerned with the mirthfulness of anyone’s expression. definitely not the people at the ponce funeral home in brownsville, brooklyn.

their skin swirls with coffee. their eyes with espresso. skull caps hug their heads and cigarettes burn matter-of-factly between their fingers. when they speak it’s to the point. they don’t speak much because there isn’t much to say.

i admire them for this.

i realize the absence of something to say doesn’t stop me from writing volumes of nothing across yawning air.

one man’s expression remains onyx when i say like a fucking asshole, “sorry for your loss. i didn’t know him but i’m sure he was a stand-up guy.”

his eyes breeze freon into mine. his short response, bristling with unconcerned intensity, etches itself into my psyche, “he was playboy.”

we walk around. she holds hands, is sad, and speaks soothing words softly and sweetly. i stand silent and nod with nervous politeness; the only white boy in a room full of people who don’t know me. i don’t belong.

nothing new.*

*

*his (?) mother is beautiful. her hair’s straightened and pulled back into a bun with streaks of gray. on her thick body is a black dress and blazer. she probably puts the other ladies at church to shame most sundays.

for some reason she directs a space heater at me- the cold white boy in a room full of strangers.

she grips her husband’s hand while they sit in the first row of folding chairs in front of his (?) casket. full lips covered in red lipstick part to smile. she asks in a confectioner’s voice, “did you know him (?)?”

“no miss. my friend did,” i point to her and continue like a fucking asshole, “but i’m sorry for your loss. i’m sure he (?) was a wonderful son”

i know she’s going to walk with her head away from the concrete and her back straight most days. even if tears escape those light brown eyes. she continues to speak to me like she’s known me longer than an instant.

she sounds like a violin solo absent of self-pity. “at least i had him (?) for thirty-two years. i tried to raise him (?) the best i could.”

i feel everything i can.

i know beyond any shadowy doubt i love her*

*

*we leave the ponce funeral home passing groups of men and women wearing dark sunglasses. this sunless day is over. we step onto atlantic avenue and into my car.*

*

*it’s after dusk in brooklyn and my skull. she tells me about her other men while i grip the steering wheel with one hand trying not to listen. a dirty-south hip-hop song plays through blown-out speakers.

it tells her, and me, it doesn’t care. the tires spin with indifference as i feel as little as i can.

we cross into bushwick but my thoughts are back in the brownsville of my brain. they’re scouring the alleyways of my psyche. i need to find the woman i love more than drawing breath. i need to apologize and give the embrace i was too afraid to give.

i need to find momma. she’d been sitting in the first row of folding chairs in front of his (?) casket.*

*


i deserve more than a child – w4m – 21 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 

 

below is a piece by borough of lost boys’

first guest writer.

 

 

a beautiful woman.

 

a beautiful woman

a self-loathing narcissist wronged.

 

a beautiful woman

a self-loathing narcissist wronged

seeing things in him he couldn’t.

 

 

(* substitutions made.

she wasn’t informed of her presence here.)

 

 

Joe Pesci Deserves A Happy Ending

By S***** ******a *********

 

 

I laid with a boy who has the skin of a man,

Who weathered his voice in the darkness

Until it burst into storm.

 

He would swim in the sea of his blankets

And anchor himself to sleep while

I tickled my feet on meadows of

Green grown grass and watched the day break.

 

And during brief moments when our worlds caressed—

Our bodies would pull at one another, at limbs and skin,

Pushing up against the other and breaking, like waves,

Never able to join two minds in different places into one room.

 

We both harbored ourselves from dark places

Where at different times we’d suffered our own exile;

We’d both ripped at ourselves, tore at our own bodies,

Overly aware of our mortality, sucking at it,

Then pushing it away, perhaps ungratefully.

 

The more I laid with a boy who had the skin of a man,

The more the vastness shrank into nonexistence.

 

 


gregg araki made homo-eroticism look better on the screen than it was on the south side of w’burg – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 *

-casual encounters-

*by someone displeased

emotions are hard to fuck away*

(frankie leone, just a man)

*

*experience vomits most strangers give lousy head*

 *

*her eyes won’t leave the horizon

staring safety pins without fasteners

in and out of reason and logic

-

green eyes set in this rough face stare back

blinded comfortably with reckless hope

-

light blue irises in a navy night sky aren’t feeling kind

granting enough vision to see a silhouette of the truth*

 *

*the machine snows my face with an emotionless glow

in frenzied loneliness i search its features


-

i’ll find a blind-fold until dawn

-

it’s unimportant if it’s made

with old money cashmere

blood money razor wire

skin of woman, man, beast, or bird

-

orange light seeps through dirty windows of my loft

-

the same shade as a cigarette cherry in darkness

-

a cigarette cherry burning with utilitarian purpose*

 *

*the wrong bodily fluids are sexier than desperation

-

the desperate, negotiate, compromise, accept

the desperate grope, grasp, gasp in the dark

the desperate resign, surrender, contract fuck its

-

south *** street and ******

second floor apartment

above a laundromat

-

names aren’t exchanged*

 *

*it doesn’t seem unreal, doesn’t feel too real

-

simply now

-

we walk up the staircase

one solid flight to a tepid unknown

-

on the way up

“are you high right now”

trickles from his hopeful lips

-

“no”

-

“you seem so calm

you’re not high”

-

“i’m like this most of the time

i don’t need drugs to throw down a fuck”

-

he doesn’t laugh, he giggles

-

“ok”*

 *

*first kiss

-

reform school girl

italian, rich, big tits

originally from chi-town

-

timidly, in the back

of a twelve person van*

 *

*he persists with formalities

“would you like a drink”

-

“i don’t need it”*

 *

*first kiss

-

27-year-old gay guy

asian, rich, defined body

originally from across the pacific

-

straight hair pulled back unapologetically

he’s pinned against a south side apt. wall*

 *

*he’s fucked plenty of accelerated nights into blood-shot dawns

-

i’m not intimidated just scared for myself

of what, i’m too much of a coward to identify

-

my wounded aggression startles him into speech

-

“you said you’ve never hooked up with a guy before”

-

“no”

-

“really”

-

“yeah”

-

“you’re not high”

-

“please stop asking”

-

“what’re your kinks”

-

“i don’t know, how does this all work

straight people don’t use that term”

-

“you’re making it too complicated”

-

menacing silence

more awkward than a lost hard-on

-

i sucker punch it

-

“i want to fuck you from behind”

-

“i’m not a whore

i don’t do one night stands”

-

i don’t try to understand, just accept

-

this feels like coercing a friend to lend what he can

-

“could you suck me off”

-

a small spill of a smile cuts out of those features into my memory*

 *

*soft a minute or so in

-

“i’m pretty nervous”

-

“i would be too”

-

he stays on his knees

ass shifting onto ankles

-

i decide

“i’m going to leave”

-

“why”

-

“i’m being rudely honest with a stranger

but my cock’s been in your mouth

-

i realize now, too late

i came here to connect with someone

-

that was a ridiculous idea”

-

black eyes focus on my face firmly

the intensity’s almost gentle

before relaxing in resolution

-

“we could go on a date sometime”

-

the night’s events are strung out enough

half-aspirin lies aren’t on my to-do list

-

the subject changes abruptly, i speak

-

“what do you do”

-

“i’m an interior designer

what do you do”

-

“i move apartments and go to college, both full time

in spare moments of agony i do things like this

writing them into creative non-fiction later, part time”

-

expecting a satisfying response

would be expecting a pony from santa

-

his family might be buddhist

-

“you’ve never hooked up with a guy

and you’re not high”

-

irritation distracts me

my voice pisses

on the toilet seat intentionally

-

“no, fucked up right

what’s your name”

-

“alfonso, what’s yours”

-

“frankie”

-

we shake hands, i continue as a human being

-

“sorry for messing up your night alfonso”

-

it doesn’t register this motherfucker’s italian as jet li*

 *

*down one solid flight

into the streets of brooklyn

-

the truth pulls me by the ear

towards my ten speed bicycle

as my pajama pants pocket vibrates

-

the text message reads

“I WNT 2 FNISH MY BLW JB.”*

*


we would’ve put sid and nancy to shame at the chelsea hotel (on 9th ave and 223 west 23rd st) – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

-devils handshake-

*by someone who’s heard you can learn

a lot about a man by his handshake*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 *

*the coals surrounding us

branding our graying souls

-

were black and glowing dark

-

while we stumbled side-by-side

through our shrinking hell

-

sometimes aware of each other

-

she’d forgotten our passion

because it’s likely

-

neither of us experienced

this feeling i remember

-

regardless

-

its memory scorches me

worse than the coals fencing us in*

*

*the devil helped

feed the voracious emptiness

that was all we had

-

with anything we’d welcome

into our bodies in powder or liquid form

-

maybe this was intended as

a gesture of perverse mercy

-

but

-

during these failures to fill our voids

i’d look at her unable to forget

the real atrocity floating in my existence

-

my memory of what might’ve never been*

*

*he gave me a moment of near-relief

-

and to this day i don’t understand why

the devil allowed me to steal

a grotesquely beautiful moment

-

during one of many uneventful nights

we composted, guests in his cheap motel room*

*

*his whiskey’d run out hours ago

but his last cigarette called

-

fear was beaten out of me

with everything else

-

without thought i stole

the devil’s last newport

-

lit it while she smiled sleepily

meeting my blank stare with hers

-

i feigned playfulness

blowing smoke onto her face

-

in my only successful attempt

to make nothing mean something

i spoke to her slowly

-

“rome’s been burning for a long time

and my fiddle-strings are long gone

-

but we’re still platinum

even if we can’t dance anymore

-

i’m loving you into all these flames”

-

i’m unsure but i might’ve smiled

before taking a few fast puffs

without inhaling, making the cherry hot

-

and placed the devil’s last cigarette

into the palm of my left hand

-

then

-

he blessed us with his only honest gift

beyond the black coals*

*

*she understood our moment

gripping my hand fiercely

-

in that place with no hope change sun or moon

helping the devil’s last newport burn us

-

it was a mild itch but enough to stir life

-

we stared deep into each other’s shallow eyes

for an eternity within our eternity*

*

*i saw what i wanted*

*

*years have evaporated

from what’s become a life

-

but i often look backwards in desperation

trying to read our eyes in those moments

-

sometimes i think

it was merely our lost humanity flashing

-

but i’m terrified

and comforted

-

i might never remember the truth

-

now, my scarred left hand moves this pen

and i’m surrounded by all these pretty things

-

bathing in morning light wandering through these windows

and i believe i’d burn all of it to know for certain

-

it was love i saw rising from our flames.*

*


at arturo’s restaurant (on 106 w houston st and thompson st) you (justifiably?) asked, “poet? so you’re copping out of adulthood?” – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 

 

handwritten piece.

requested by maya.

(loyal reader.)


 

 


in loisada (l.e.s.) you looked hot through our six month mutual destruction – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

-80 milligrams and aesop rock-

*by someone wandering

in a labyrinth of absent logic*

(frankie leone, just a man)

*

*it was years ago but i remember

-

i remember her

-

looking into those eyes

-

eyes painted on the walls of my skull

-

i can see her with clarity

the present can’t give

-

she knows pain

and a variation on love

-

smiling like she knows better

a wary hope visible in her pupils

-

accentuated by irises a oceanic blue-green

-

i’m one of the reasons suspicion’s there

-

i remember

-

how rooms get smoky and scars whiten

when she walks into pool-halls and bedrooms

looking tough like brick, not aluminum siding*

*

*you’ll see her walk

you’ll see her smoke

-

and after a flawless french inhale

you’ll see her exhale she’s seen her share

-

on these

streets

avenues

and alleyways

-

i look at these eyes in my mind

knowing they’ve pled prayers

to a world they can’t see

as many times as me

-

time’s passed

as it does and will always

-

the seasons cycle impatiently, eternally

and i still remember her

-

this girl with dirty-blonde hair

and ripped pants with sex coming out of the tears*

*

*i wonder

how our romance could’ve been hollywood

how i could’ve been her solution

how she could’ve been mine

-

gazing with acceptance at charcoal skies over brooklyn

i know we’re both doing what we have to to get by

-

under the shadow of our skyline

-

and i know i never loved her

and i know she never loved me

-

but the street-lights shine on these illustrated limbs

they shine on this face of kings county sandpaper

-

and i know we meant something

even if we meant nothing.*

*

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