Monthly Archives: March 2011

the strobe lights hurt your eyes at 1oak (on 415 west 17th st between 9th ave and 10th ave) – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 

 

-bitter-sweet apple-

*by someone who’s already taken his bite*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 

*she wades into a skyline

she doesn’t want to understand

 

while smiling towards a dream

not fully formed

 

youth promises

it’ll be there tomorrow

 

while fate washes itself

down the storm drain

of right now

 

responsibility explodes to next week

like a wolf pack of m-80s sold

out of a canal street back room

 

and it’s fucking beautiful.*

 



at bk sew good (on 116 n 5th street between berry and bedford) you told me to go fuck myself – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 *

-i’m going to fuck tonight-

*by someone who needs to get laid*

(frankie leone, just a man)

*

*i’m going to

fuck a heatless bedroom

fuck loving ideas with people’s faces

fuck indignant guilt

fuck the classic excuses of an artist

fuck what people should do at this age

fuck manipulative honesty

fuck terrified distrust

fuck remembering to forget

fuck this self-loathing narcissism

fuck noise-bleeding walls

fuck the elusive definition of a hipster

fuck my porn-centered sex ed

fuck convenient vertigo

fuck trivial lies

fuck exploitation of a shadowy past

fuck forever feeling apart

fuck my scarred features

fuck an uncanny ability to make people follow

fuck unforgiving insecurity

fuck using a penis as a switchblade

fuck an airbrushed truth

fuck the wrong clothes for the right dream

fuck skewed ideas of manhood

fuck lack of social inhibition

fuck feeling alone in a crowd of friends

fuck a sneering debit balance

fuck masturbation inside you

fuck selfish benevolence

fuck the cop-out of romantic misery

fuck memories of loss and rejection

fuck limbs covered in inky masks

fuck seeking out those desperate to believe

fuck an adolescent mind in its mid-twenties

fuck this cliche

fuck a haze of jaded comfort

fuck haunting emotions

fuck the bold-faced lie of disinterest

fuck inconsiderate boundaries

fuck vacationless pain

fuck a misplaced childhood

fuck an overzealous conscience

fuck a petrified persona

-

fuck the fear of committing love to meaning.*

*


i enjoyed wasting money buying you drinks at the kid cudi show at the roseland ballroom (on 239 west 52nd st between 8th ave and broadway) – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 *

-bitches over money-

*by someone who appreciates friendly customer service*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 *

*i always want to lie about that afternoon. say i heard shots cry out from his pistol. describe to my friends how stuyvesant park’s pigeons scattered like winged buck shot. how they fell. or how he fell.  the final scene of my imaginary western set off the myrtle ave j in bedford stuyvesant, brooklyn.

or some bull shit.

mean truths aren’t as pretty as mean girls. they aren’t made for the silver screen either. i won’t see flaco again but whether he’s dead or alive the last time i saw him on his stoop he was breathing.*

*

*six of them stand like the concrete columns holding up the myrtle avenue subway trestle they’re under just outside the park. most are around my age- sixteen. except one. he’s in his thirties. none of them are dressed for a game.

pants sag down their hips. light glints off gold or silver when they smile. red’s their clothing’s predominate color. even a white boy knows what’s going on with that, they aren’t keeping it a secret- they’re “gangster killer” bloods. 

chains around their necks tell the neighborhood they don’t experience the daily grind. they’ve chained themselves to the game. they’re on the grind.

someone wiser than i taught me something that’s made life safer: not making eye contact with those who intimidate you is folly. someone keeping his eyes stuck to brooklyn concrete stinks of fear. troublesome cologne sprays on him or her without hesitation.

soft tourists give contradictory advice to other soft tourists. i raise my eyes and nod in acknowledgement before accelerating my walk.

i don’t know them except the oldest. actually, i only know of him. i don’t want more knowledge. the feeling isn’t reciprocated. he speaks.

“what’s poppin’ young buck? knows you ain’t tryin’ to diss a nigga frontin’ like you doesn’t know why we out here. let me talk to you. we holdin’ triple stack mitsibuishi e pills. nicks of coke too. it’s that fire! i knows you coppin’ ’round here. i got you.”

i stop walking. bad move.

“no disrespect man. flaco’s got me. he said to drop his name on anyone that talks to me on my way to his spot,” i answer without thought.

the kids look at each other and smile. this is a problem  i don’t need.

the man responds, “that so white boy? that’s what he said? where that spic be at now? he still posted up on pulaski street? i want to holla at him.”

i stay quiet.

“‘ight. i respect that. listen, these little niggas ain’t gone run your pockets. they ain’t gone whoop your ass neither. they even gone let you walk back to the train with that enchilada eatin’ mo’ fuckas shit. you gettin’ paid with all that. paid to tell him somethin’ for me. feel me?”

it’s too late to start walking again. i’m committed to the conversation. i stay quiet. he moves his body within a few feet of me. a large finger rests on my chest. a bracelet with heavy gold links and a plate engraved with the letters “gkb” slides around his wrist. 

he gives me his message.

“he ain’t workin’ ’round here no more. if he does he works for me. you heard? tell him i know where he’s at.”

my eyes had broken from his. i engage his glare again. he finishes.

“aight then. have a nice day bitch.”

a cold smile splits his features while the j train’s din consumes myrtle avenue.*

*

*fall’s wilting towards winter. still, flaco sprawls on the stoop in an over-sized white tee and baggy shorts ending below his knees. i’ve never seen him anywhere else. seems like he never leaves. he usually has a black and mild, tall boy of bud, and bag of utz potato chips. there’s a bodega down the block. i wonder if they deliver.

this dilapidated building’s stoop always struck me as a strange place for a twenty-four pharmacy. he sees me and sits up straight.

“que pasa little homie? what you need? holdin’ double stacks today. teddy bear pills. i know you feelin’ my x. for you i can do two for twenty. ain’t got yayo for you. gone have to come back mignona for that.”

i don’t know what to say. my mediocre poker face speaks before i do. he responds to it.

“what you trialin’ and tribulatin’ ’bout pobre sito? nice day. you gone get high. you ain’t got kids. you ain’t got bills. yo’ rock star lookin’ ass probably got a fly shorty. you kissin’ lady luck nigga.”

he laughs. i give him the message i carry. he leaves a laughing mood.

flaco’s silent, contemplative. his eyes stab across pulaski street. they seem to pierce the blocks of section eight housing, ninety-nine cent shops, bodegas, and liquor stores obstructing his stare.

the absence of words roars my heart to a drum roll. he lights a black and mild with a white bic. i notice an old cigarette burn on his right palm.

not knowing what to say i ask, “how’d you get that scar?”

i point to it.

“fucked around and slapped hands wit’ el diablo a while back. you ain’t got to worry ’bout that though. sit yo’ ass down.”

there’s a bulge under his shirt at the waist. i have a good idea what it is. looking this problem in the eye seems better than it putting holes in my back. i sit down.

i’m hesitant to blunder into the quiet. he doesn’t say anything for a few moments of forever.

“tell me what you know ’bout hookers chico.”

“sorry flaco. just did what you told me to. can’t blame me. i promise not to come around here anymore.”

he spits back, “you listenin’? i ain’t talkin’ ’bout them niggas runnin’ they mouths in the park. i asked what you know ’bout hos.”

i’m not in a position to argue about our discussion’s topic.

“i don’t know. used to be a lot on kent ave before hipsters started coming to williamsburg. they’ve got diseases. shoot smack. get slapped around by pimps. that kind of stuff.”

his eyebrows wrench down in anger.

“you dead wrong ’bout all that son. that’s some ignorant shit. mi madre was a ho. she weren’t sick or a fiend. more’n anything though: momma weren’t givin’ her loot to no nigga with a feather stickin’ out his dome. you hear me maricone?”

it isn’t my day. this is twilight zone material. i wonder if he’s high. this could be my last conversation on earth.

“yeah man. definitely.”

he takes a long drag off his black and mild.

“my momma used protection. you know ’bout that right?”

“condoms?”

he shakes his head.

“ain’t that simple. she handled business like a professional. weren’t no one’s poota. some mug didn’t want to wear a rubber she’d bounce on his ass for sure. with or without her paper. my ma dukes got wit’ a union though. you know what that is?”

i proceed with caution.

“they protect workers. didn’t know there were unions for hookers though. it’s not legal.”

one side of his mouth lifts in a smirk.

“your mind es paquito. you needs to think like peecasso. abstractly. my moms had dignity. that was the union she got down with. that was her protection.”

i don’t understand why he’s telling me these things. i’m just grateful i might leave bedstuy.

“that was smart. she made her own union.”

his expression’s pacified.

“damn right. i’m gone keep it real with you though. some faggot ass nigga thinkin’ he was some kind pimp tried to fuck with her shit. i was mad young. almost lost my momma to that maricone. she told me all ’bout it. know who save’t my moms chico?”

“who?”

“her union’s rep. nigga brought her in.”

“i don’t understand.”

his tone sharpens. 

“quit interruptin’ then. her union rep was a cheap ass bottle of rose sittin’ on a motel table. cut that bendajo’s throat wit’ it. ear to ear. mad surgical. stained them sheets up so bad even one of them hood ass motels couldn’t keep them shits.”

if there’s an appropriate reply i can’t think of it. i’m beginning to understand what he’s saying though. i let the sounds of his block have a turn in the conversation. across the street a fat landlady reminds a tenant it’s the sixth of the month at the top her lungs.

eventually i take a chance.

“you don’t have to kill anyone flaco. if anything you should just set up shop a little ways out of the neighborhood. it’s a big city.”

he smiles.

“you know what my momma’s pain show’t me playboy?”

“what?”

“bitches over money. lots of hustlin’ niggas, like these ones talkin’ tough by the park, got shit backwards. think they pimps. they gone get they minds right.”

“what’re you going to do?”

“not a damn thing. the union rep’s gone holla at them niggas.”

he pats his waist. the butt of his union rep’s outlined through his tee shirt. it’s plain he’s made up his mind.

i ask, “in broad day light?”

his smile seems appropriate.

“momma always said when you fuckin’ leave them lights on.”

he laughs. we listen to the land lady and sirens of a passing ambulance for more moments of eternity.

“november’s gone turn to july ’round here. best get to the train. le’me bless you wit’ a couple hits. they free.”

“good looking out man,” i reply.

i palm two plastic-wrapped pills and start walking. half-way to the j train i regret my mediocre thank you.*

*

(details modified out of respect and fear. also for the page.)

*

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your thighs got bruised at viva el toro (on 188 berry st between n 3rd st and n 4th st) – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

- a boos tier and never-ending grin -

*by someone trying to believe it was worth it*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 *

*“the best part of angry sex is before you’re fucking”

 -

she doesn’t seem

shocked or uncomfortable

 -

i continue with discomfort

 -

“the eye-contact

the hard breathing

the grasping

the silent intensity”

 -

turning to glance at me

in the passenger seat of her car

 -

she smiles and keeps driving

 -

with mild animation she says

 -

“yeah the grabbing on the neck and hair…”

 -

and stops, but not abruptly

 -

i start losing myself

 -

in a voice sounding like blonde hair

pulled by a calloused hand

 -

and green eyes staring

into blue ones

 -

i speak again

 -

“just thinking about it i want to…”

 -

my voice stops

like a fallen guillotine blade

 -

with a different kind of energy

i break passed fearful hesitation

 -

“i need to stop talking about this”

 -

i’m not in the mood for sweets

but the conversation turns more vanilla*

 *

*i remember the first time

-

a filament inside me heated and glowed

speaking and looking at her recklessly*

*

we’re on someone else’s bed

 -

she expresses herself with her usual enthusiasm

“we rode the mechanical bull

i stayed on longest but got nasty bruises”

 -

choosing to not help myself

my words walk in a dangerous direction

 -

asking

“on the insides of your thighs”

 -

without outrage

she responds quickly

 -

“yeah”

 -

i stop speaking

 -

something i should do more often

and reveal half my teeth with a half smile

-

then release a laugh that doesn’t sound like

it’d be approved for most audiences

 -

smiling back

i see her amusement

 -

“what was that evil laugh”

 -

my expression endures

but vocal chords stay still

afraid our field was mined

 -

she continus

“it was like

‘i’ve definitely given a few girls those’”

 -

restraint of tongue isn’t my strongest suit

 -

with deliberateness i proceed and

my speech stomps on a widow-maker

 -

“guess i’ve had a few mechanical bull nights too”

 -

the mine’s a dud

 -

i’m not in the mood for sweets

but the conversation turns more apple pie*

 *

*i’ve seen sights

better kept from naked day-light

 -

things i find myself wishing

were still covered in

protective sheets of shadows

 -

she’s one of them

 -

those days she sparkled deceptively

like stones i can’t afford

in the afternoon sun

 -

or glowed seductively

neon lights in twilight hours

 -

but regardless of how i was blinded

by her yesterday

 -

today

 -

my spirit feels resentment

hit by rays of indifferent street light

 -

caught by these lasiked eyes.*

*


i heard our truth loud and clear at academy record annex (on 96 north 6th street between berry st and wythe ave) – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 *

-youthful indiscretion-

*by someone who’s never liked to listen*

(frankie leone, just a man)

*

*

*i remember her*

*

*

*her hair was cut into an extreme bob

the shape of her face circular

-

the windows to her soul

a pleasant unstriking blue

-

i’m an insecure man

-

so was surprised 

she didn’t intimidate me

like most attractive women

-

and she was a woman

in terms of chronology

-

however

hearing her speak

sounding tortured

-

a smile on her face

-

i suspected

her soul had pig-tails

-

like mine held a cap gun

-

and i suspected

her insides bore wounds

-

like mine

-

insides lady luck

had hatcheted*

*

*

*the truth

always sounds clearer

on vintage vinyl

-

listening  to our truth now

it sounds like

-

my insides

were beginning to scar up

when we met

-

while hers

still dripped crimson

-

our truth sounds like

two mutilated children

loading magazines for infatuous combat

-

anyway

-

our truth sounds like

a death match

made in purgatory.*

*


you bought me bondage gear at the leather man, inc. (on 111 christopher st between bedford st and bleeker st) – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

-”go in and get your dog collar”-

*by a grateful kid*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 *

*”what do you want for your birthday kid?”

“a spiked collar. one like sid vicious had.”

dad doesn’t like this. his expression says it with emphasis. he’s old. he’s italian. he’s from brooklyn.

his childhood hasn’t prepared him to appreciate punk rock. it definitely hasn’t prepared him to appreciate it around his thirteen year-old son’s neck. i already have my answer. he reiterates it.

“one of them leather things the perverts wear while they smack each other around? forget about it. what else you want?”

i usually seethe at the old man. these moments bring me to a boil. i unclench my teeth long enough to breathe, “nothing.”

we sit across from each other in a pastry shop on bleeker. i’ve had a cannoli. he’s had espresso.

he glares in silent rage. his stare beats me with a bat while i hear slow quiet words.

“ok kid. let’s go.”

“where?”

“christopher street.”

he pays. we walk in silence.

we start down christopher. i’ve never seen it in daylight or on a weekend. doesn’t look too different from any other west village block. the gavones at school made it sound like i’d get propositioned by a gay guy after a few steps.

i’m unimpressed.

we stop in front of a store. i know i don’t belong in it. the window boasts an anatomically correct manikin wearing leather. it’s inside a cage. the store’s sign reads “the leather man.”

the olive oil in his veins has stopped boiling.

i should know better than to relax though. he’s taught me to cook. i’ve been warned oil can melt your skin after a half-hour off the stove.

dad hands me a fifty dollar bill.

“go in and get your dog collar.”

i understand. embarrassment’s an effective tool of his.

“can’t i buy it on 8th street or st. marks,” i ask.

“give my money back.”

“fine,” i surrender.*

*

*i’m in and out in two flicks of a dom’s crop. the sales associate in the mask with un-zippered mouth and eye holes is helpful. the collar’s mine.

one like sid vicious had.*

*

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*


on your birthday i lied about being your legal guardian so they’d pierce you at fly-rite tattoo (on 492 metropolitan ave between meeker and rodney) – m4m – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

-night vision-

*by someone that can see (himself)

better than most

in the dark*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 *

*he has youth

and a soul like tarnished silver

-

his voice sounding like a fresh-forged church bell

cracked down the center

-

audible through a thunder storm

-

and his eyes are desperate

desperate for hope

-

for a mag light

in blackness thick as tar

-

they make me uncomfortable

-

i look at them

unable to meet his gaze consistently

-

his eyes were in my sockets once*

*

*i feel powerless

-

knowing i can’t give him

the ones resting in my face now

-

wanting to tear them out

and insist he take them*

*

*i listen while

he speaks about brutal fights

-

ones ending with blood and

his body vertical or horizontal

-

i listen 

while he speaks

-

about sharing physical oubliettes with other lost boys

chained into a system that’s forgotten their humanity

-

and the harsher detention center

in his mind

-

i listen

while he speaks

-

about god’s hatred of him

-

how his creator fuels

the burning foundation of his life

-

with whiskey and cocaine*

*

*feeling a rust-colored soul twist

i can’t bring myself to lie

-

i tell him it’ll get darker

and the flames’ll burn hotter

-

he kn0ws i speak the truth*

*

*i sit by the window of my bedroom

looking out over east brooklyn

-

stretching my brain on the rack

-

trying to figure out

how to rip these moist spheres free

-

and force him to accept them

-

but it’s almost certain

the effort will be futile*

-

*thinking of those moments passed

-

those moments 

i looked into his eyes

-

and mine

-

the eyes of a boy i don’t know

yet love

and hate

with every fiber of my humanity

-

i blink back a glaze of tears

praying he’ll go blind.*

 *


you fucked me up at king’s pharmacy (on 241 bedford ave between n 4th and n 3rd st) – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

 

 

-colorless poppy-

(written before “-an idea, until she wasn’t-”)

*by someone chasing

a sublime dragon*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 

 

*she bleeds

droplets of opium

into my mind

 

tattooing my misted senses

with unique posture

framing liquid moments

 

vortexes with pupils

sucking in stares

 

and a voice

washing our city

in whiskey ease

 

then

 

per usual

reality sobers me

 

as i wonder what it’s like

 

to command others

into infernos of passion

 

across lukewarm bars

and tepid streets

 

effortlessly

 

i wonder what it’s like

 

to tie together

the strings of their emotions

 

and throw them

over electrical wires

 

unconsciously

 

i wonder what it’s like

 

to lace up someone

that makes more sense

 

not knowing

rain’s coming

 

walking out that door

wearing him

 

comfortably

 

and i wonder what it’s like

 

to be unaware i’ll hang

through the night ahead

 

after my memory of her

blots out the sun

 

appropriately.*

 



you smirked while lighting my cigar at the velvet lounge (on 174 broadway between driggs and bedford) – m4w – 26 (williamsburg, borough lost boys)

 

 

-newport pleasure-

(setting of “-devil’s handshake-”)

*by someone who craves something different

these days*

(frankie leone, just a man)

 

 

*i couldn’t tell you which circle

but i’ve seen hell

 

and smoked newports with the devil

 

i found it passing through a small house

in disrepair

staining an anguished suburban landscape

 

there,

dreams and nightmares didn’t exist

 

only the ugliest reality

 

there,

neither hope nor disappointment were present

 

only long-standing resignation

 

the air smelled like

sauerkraut

stale smoke

and

soulless-ness

 

the walls were adorned with inexpensive images of saints

ironic, because god had forgotten this place long ago

 

at least i hope he did

 

there,

the devil and i sat many nights

 

dumping solid and liquid forgetfulness

into a void we could never fill

 

he angrily cursed his creator

she cried in terminal despair

 

he ripped the face around his volcanic eyes

glowering into them through an unbearable reflection

 

all the while, he resentfully shared his cigarettes

 

i watched these things and much more

feeling little, road-kill inside

 

during my time there i saw and heard too much

but simultaneously, too little*

 

 

*most days i only feel sporadic twinges of shame

displaying disfigurements my body bears

 

however

my spirit will always wear a masquerade mask

 

to cover the burns left by the devil’s newports.*

 

 


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