Love Me Til I'm Dead

  Wasn’t that 12th street

wasn’t it May

6:29 pm I was late

I’d just bought

Rob’s bildungsroman

you mean memoir

the bookseller

working the cash

register told me

you’re on the wrong

floor follow me


Told him I also needed to taste

what I was up against


signing myself

over to X agency

who’ll take 15%

of the rights

of the royalties

if they successfully

peddle my memoir

(whose takeaway

is messing up love

via capitalism)

& hawk it to some

Big Five publisher

who’ll nary give

a shit not until

it officially bombs

& who’ll change

the French title

to a phrase more

marketable & also cut

the photograph

overlooking my third

apartment before

Sandy hit Brooklyn

wasn’t that 2012


6:31 pm I was skittering

across Broadway

my shoes killing me

& read Rob’s first sentence

(I needed also to hear

what I was up against)

“this must be the place”

it both pleased

& nonplussed me

thought unwittingly

of David Byrne

in Hollywood

c. 1984 onstage

singing “sing

into my mouth”

& “never for money,

always for love”

his white suit

& sweat stains

wasn’t that

Stop Making Sense


(Emily loves this song

I thought that’s

what I’m up against?)


Whacked the book

shut & muttered

intéressant, intéressant

stretching the a’s

& tittering at myself

a tiny gag my horrid

French accent

an abandoned toast

& thinking of X now

you Francophile

haven’t seen you

since that winter

3.5 years ago no

that was Scholes St.

when you wheezed

& said I’m uncertain

I’m that person

who waking loves

you anymore


yes, you

you said


& headed eastbound

when I looked up

& also marching

across 12th street

there was another X

I half-loved

that following spring

3.5 years ago she

gave me this

two-fingered salute

touching her brow

was she leaving

her seminar maybe

dinner with dad

I wouldn’t decide

thought unwittingly

instead of her

rheumy & I guess

also pellucid

eyes those nights

on Powers St.

on my stoop

when the stars

I said stunk of

beef tallow


My slack mouth

making a shy noise

when I saw her

it was like oh

but a century longer


“Out of all those

 kinds of people,”

my shoes sang

& killing me

“we drift in and out”


& you could call

her name but no

you live here now


ain’t that America

on the radio

when the taxi

swerved around me


& the drug dog

licking anxiously

the other bigger

drug dog’s paws


that was Broadway

words like jornada,

chaparral, beldam,

snow blindness,

malanders, ilex,

rebozo, chivaree,

death camas


I bed down here now


new whorls

of blonde hair

& fur in my mouth


but when I wake up

4:01 am unsleeping

& the apartment’s


like blue milk

& mustard seed


inside the amphora

there’s a third smell

a pair of ox-eyes

with their bruised

& drooped heads

isn’t it those flowers

some mornings

who aren’t always

already dead

when I wake up

& smell what

I’m up against