Category Archives: poetry

you expressed i was crazy via phone call from your shithole in the lower east side (on 13th street and 2nd avenue). – 28 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

-unstable-

*by someone who’s accepted it*

(frankie leone, just a man)

*

*no one see the world

with the same conviction 

as the mad man

figments of his imagination

hurricaning his view of the world

emotions rocketing through him

with the intensity of a dangerous narcotic

envisioning

a revolution of thought

epic love

and a different future

that may or may not be coming

but belief is reality

and men like him

have unwavering faith*

*

*the madman walks

the streets of our city

a city with shiny skin

bittersweet fruit

and the potential 

to put someone to sleep forever

he feels

thinks

sees

smokes

fucks

screams

laughs

cries

loves

hates

and believes

like no other*

*

*his hope is only 

to see something different

a choice that isn’t his

because as he sees our city

through a gritty kaleidoscope 

images of saints

sinners

good

bad

and ugly

ghost dance through his psyche

to a torturous melody

but it’s fucking beautiful

and even though

he may yearn to give it away

it’s his

and no one can take it from him*

*

*when he speaks

his words may make a good listen

in madness

there is chaos

and all things worth witnessing

emerge from this condition

so it may not be unwise

to pay heed to the madman

just in case he’s right

– 

because

after all

what do you believe in?*

*

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you were the radical feminist who gave me the first blow job that ever made me come (on 247 starr street and wyckoff). – 27 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

-chloe-

*by someone finding freedom

one humbling experience at a time*

(frankie leone, just a man)

*

 

*a dollar store fan

missing a blade

blows onto my skin

coated in a thin layer of sweat

clothed only in powder blue boxer shorts

covered with a print of cowboys and indians

and an unfiltered camel burns in these long digits

decorated with cut scars and tattoos

before being put out into an old coffee mug

resting on a small table

adorned with black and bronze mosaic tiles

while i remember*

 

*

 

*she lives uptown

and loved her bicycle

saying it gave her freedom from our city’s

subterranean network of grinding metal

and tired faces

freedom from its control of her time

and stolen moments from the streets*

 

*

 

*someone likely pursuing

powder and liquid relief from reality

relieved her of it

with a pair of bolt cutters

and a relaxed conscience

she’s petit

so her bicycle was pint-sized

pink

and like a child’s

had streamers coming from the handlebars*

 

*

 

*she’s taken the subway to see me in brooklyn

and we walk along an empty north 8th street

as the sun drops

towards my idea of a romantic evening

on the water at east river state park

the sky breathes an easy summer breeze on us

and she tells me more about grieving chloe,

the name she’d given the pink bicycle

moments before we see it

chained to the gate of a building

near the corner of berry street*

 

*

 

*”whoever lives here stole my bike”

she says in wide-eyed shock

in a normal speaking tone

“lucky you”

i respond

drawing a trouble-filled smile

her expression shuffles into irritation

“how do you figure that”

“i know a decent booster

let me call him

if he’s free

chloe will be yours again

in a half hour

if he isn’t

you’ll have your freedom from the m.t.a.

back by midnight

because i have a decent hack saw

four blocks away

in my roomie’s toolbox”

her irritation morphs to surprise

“that’s illegal

you could get in trouble”

i don’t respond

and watch her face go contemplative

she continues

“i guess this is this person’s karma though”

“probably not”

i answer

“what do you mean”

“it’s the booster’s and the fence’s karma

this person was just dumb enough to buy a stolen bike

rich girls in williamsburg

with apartments on the north side

aren’t cutting bicycle locks uptown

to pay rent”

surprise shifts to sadness

“don’t call your friend

don’t come back here later

and don’t ever mention this again”

“what”

i respond

“i’m not going to inflict

the pain i felt losing chloe

on someone else”

“bullshit

you’re getting your bike back”

now she’s angry

“no i’m not

you’re not doing shit

and i don’t want to hear about this again”

my ego absorbs the blows

and i keep my mouth shut

before we walk

the last two blocks to the park

in awkward silence.*

 

*

 

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on the bedford l stop subway stairs (on the corner of north 7th st and bedford ave) you asked me a question i couldn’t answer at the time. – 27 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

-sadness-

*by someone resolved

to climb out of this pothole*

(frankie leone, just a man)

*

*a pretty girl

with short hair

petit stature

and bright blue eyes

asked me once on the stairwell

of the subway ramp

on north 7th street and bedford avenue

why i was always sad

she didn’t know me from a hole in the wall

but had read my work

with a compassionate brushstroke

in her manner

she looked at me smiling

as someone would gaze

at a sick child

i didn’t have an answer

asked her if she wanted to hang out sometime

and heard her reply

“i’m sure we’ll see each other around”*

*

*i think about this

my sadness

and realize

the reason for it

fear

when one has known nothing else

even if it is a terrible state of being

this unknown is terrifying

terrifying enough to endure misery

and i see i have a choice

and have made it for myself

for a period of time disgusting to me*

*

*i think of this girl

bravely smiling at a man twice her size

bearing the marks of someone who’s been places he shouldn’t have

and consider myself a coward

if she can do this

why can’t i

i ask myself

and then i see fear

my devil

and decide to pull my pistol

for my last duel with a power 

not greater than myself.*

*

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you were kind enough to give me water and let me use the bathroom when i was freaking out on acid at berry park (on 4 berry st and nassau ave) 27 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

-identity crisis-

*by someone who walks by himself for a reason*

(frankie leone, just a man)

*

*like a maladjusted teenager

orbiting reality, exploded on angel dust

i’ve tried to pulverize the image

of who i might be

or like a thorough crook

strung out on the acquisition of wealth

hide the origins of who i am

laundering my identity

through a series of intermediaries

but after a lifetime of fighting and hiding

i’ve grown weary

and can no longer afford the luxury of fear

i’ve come to face the mirror of who i’ve been

in hopes of finding brutal clarity

on who i am

there will be no flinching

as i stare at the past

to find my present

i stand here

by myself

armed with exhaustion and desperation

to catalogue some of the stops

on my subway ride

through this human’s experience*

*

*the kid on the street

with nothing to lose

convinced there’s nothing to gain

you don’t know what’s hidden in my pockets

that may or may not motivate you

to stop running your mouth

or why i’m so dedicated

to stop you from vocalizing your opinions

but you do know i’ll try to use it

because that’s what i do*

*

*the punk rocker

swearing allegiance to an army

that guarantees i won’t be negotiated for

after legions of bottles, glue tubes, and syringes

overtake

aligning with this religion

that will never identify itself as one

in beds, bathrooms, and train cars

making despondent love

to its hazy mistresses wearing corresponding uniforms

of torn fish-nets and black eyeliner

and walking to the beat of sloppy drums

and inconsistent power chords

under a black flag

reeking of body odor*

*

*the tough guy

banging to the sound of years combusting

respecting alleyways and avenues

that aren’t familiar with this concept

loyal to a crew of ever shifting faces

raising arms ending with clenched fists

covering in r.i.p. tattoos

you know

when things go too far south between us

for either of us to fly home for the spring

i’ll be there on time

with minions wearing skin functioning as masks

and it won’t be to talk*

*

*the fuck star

twisting my face

into disingenuous expressions of ecstasy

giving the camera my most personal moments

like a lukewarm handshake

because i’ve been blessed

with these flexible morals

and big cock

numbing reservations with complimentary

powders and liquids

to soldier through the next filming

under the impression

i’m providing a valuable service

and the one really in control*

*

*the junky mercenary

following whoever’s money

to the next fix

as my liver dies

and the crooks of my arms

bruise and abscess

rallying behind the next opportunity

to fight, fuck, or steal

not because there’s pleasure in it anymore

but because there hasn’t been another option

for quite some time

i can’t remember

what i’m trying to forget at this point but

hitting the snooze button on my emotions

has taken priority over the possibility

for real friends

a loving family

and the hope to live to my next birthday*

*

*the imprisoned criminal in the free world

who won’t give up bondage

watching people who have a liberty

i believe i’ve taken from myself permanently

unaware the keys to my cuffs

lay in my lap*

*

*a man who’s seen more than i should’ve

because i’ve seen too little

of things in front of my eyes all along

a lost boy who sees into a tarry darkness

filled with funhouse mirrors*

*

*the poet

walking the street in my own shadows

unable to move passed things that need to be

but recording them so others will

in hopes of proving i’m not a monster

to the city around me

but more importantly, myself*

*

*the enlightened madman

who stands behind convictions

i won’t surrender

even after laying my own world to waste*

*

*the life force of the rager

making the superficially beautiful smile

professionally

pouring drink after drink after drink

to people who surrender some autonomy

to me, a man they don’t know

but don’t feel threatened by

because others don’t

i have a decent dance move or two

and am not a bad kisser*

*

*i have been these things

among many others

maybe still am

but after poring over these reflections

they haven’t ceased to exist

just ceased to frighten

because while i don’t desire to turn my back

to the days ahead

to watch yesterday try to run up on me

i no longer feel compelled to lock my head forward

to avoid the vision

giving up this tug-of-war

makes things easier on my neck in the moment

and makes walking into tomorrow less difficult.*

*

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you took me as your plus one to an upscale event at the guggenheim museum (at 1071 5th avenue and 88th street) – 27 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

-the world is yours-

*by someone who doesn’t need to take

what’s already his*

(frankie leone, just a man)

*

*the radio’s off

and old tires spin

with worn ease and comfort

as her and i glide east

on the brooklyn queens expressway

in a weathered mini-van

she’s shuttled me around in

since my childhood

a clear night sharpens my affection for her

and the city glistening across the east river

i’m watching through the passenger window

i look at her

while she massages the road with

her careful green eyes

and turn my own back to the skyline

– 

i breathe slow and deep

before whispering

“it’s mine”

– 

she doesn’t respond right away

or turn her gaze

from the lanes of the bqe

the wrinkled skin

on her still pretty face

shifts to grace me with a smile

before answering

“i know

that’s how everyone

who loves it should feel”

 –

i think about this for a moment

and maintain our silence

 –

moving my left hand

over her right

 –

gripping the scratched steering wheel.*

*

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in the summer you can’t stand the smell of the streets around dark room (on 165 ludlow street and stanton) – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

-scents-

*by someone who stopped smoking

and doesn’t always enjoy a sense of smell*

(frankie leone, just a man)

*

*love doesn’t smell like

lubricated condoms opened by a stranger

or more credit card debt in soho

or a long run from yourself at the y

or well whiskey on a black, black(ed out) night

or awkwardness getting caught staring on the train

or the bodega guy knowing your favorite ben and jerry’s flavor

or forgetting there’s something else working dawn ’til dusk

or desperation to see someone else in that reflection*

*

*love smells like breathing deeply

alone, noiseless, ok

love smells like spooning with that reflection

eyes closed.*

*

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you laughed and said, “you may be a wolf but at least you’re up front about it,” at the electric room (on 355 west 16th street and 9th ave). – 26 (williamsburg, borough of lost boys)

*

-restless night-

*by someone crying out to the same moon as you*

(frankie leone, just a man)

*

*momma and i are morning people

but the malady of night

permeates my bones

and seduces my spirit

heaven probably isn’t in the cards

for a man like me

so after midnight you’ll see me

dancing with my devils*

*

*a full moon floods gasoline

through my veins

while your hungry eyes

fill a syringe with fire

those words floating

passed that confident smile

sound put off by my intentions

but i suspect otherwise

feeling your stare

press fantasy tipped rounds

into the magazine of my mind*

*

*the streets of our city

are owned by sheep

but run by wolves

so when their flocks slumber

under synthetic blankets of security

let’s take our turn

with these avenues and alleyways

and howl towards a nightmare

or dream.*

*

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*


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