Here are some of my previously published poems.

The Dog

Come on! Come on!
she calls the dog
to the open car door
till the shaggy black and white excitement
jumps wagging into the back
pushing his head
through the gap between the seats
brown eyes shining
through his bangs at her
like kindergarteners peaking
through the curtains
of their first school play.

He licks his nose
she turns the key
backing full speed
down the driveway
and they’re off!
her silver hair glistens
his toenails dig
in the leather seat
In her rearview mirror
she sees him watching
dogs fly by.
Her eyes on the road
fingers wrapping the wheel
til mile after mile finally
the perfect stop
she pulls to the curb
and lets him out
he sniffs he pees he shits
she lights a cigarette
he runs here runs there
the soft crew cuts of tended lawns
feels good on his toes
he runs smiling up to some children
following their ball
one to the other
they call him monkey
in the middle
back and forth
till glancing back
through silly eyes
he sees her car gone
with him just a shaggy spot
on her rear-view mirror
her midnight metallic blue
disappearing into broad daylight.

Racing madly after
her blue smoke
he passes
tree tops dump trucks malls
tearing down the road
his tongue like a flag
for miles his bangs blow back
his ears are rags
to the horns and screeches.

Catching her at an intersection
her door flies open
and slams him inside.
He smiles at her with bloody feet
as she drives them

For the Survivors

When we’re children we don’t think we’re being raped
We think we’re being chosen. That’s how they get us.
Yes, it’s strange, uncomfortable, a little stinky, embarrassing
but so is loneliness. So is invisibility.

That throaty husky whisper that says
how beautiful we are. How special. How
can we not be putty in their clammy hands?

And we are chosen. They spotted us. We are the gullible ones.
We believe in Santa Claus or Malcolm X. Whoever is
the Jesus of our day.
We believe if we are just nice enough…just fearless enough…
Whether we’re being called good
or being called revolutionary…
we think now we have our ticket to the big dance,
we finally found a home,
can take our rightful seat at the welcome table.
eager even,
to be counted, to receive extras
Extra birthday presents are nice.
Telephone calls are nice. It’s nice
to have an adult ask you how you’re feeling. It’s great
to have a grown-up who is always on your side,
in your corner.
It’s comforting to be stroked and petted and held and fed. After school
you have a place to go.
No more Saturdays and Sundays with nothing to do.
Now there’s plenty. There’s somebody
who cares where you are at all times.
You now have some one
you can always turn to.
As long as you turn to them.
As long as you are willing
to let them keep
turning you


It’s a drag when your perpetrator is not a man
of the cloth or a nun
a teacher at the school
a coach a rabbi a paid spokesperson
for a major corporation somebody connected
to an institution you might one day
It’s a drag when your rapist is a woman
with no money
and all you got
to show for it
is nothing
you can show
for it
you can see.

dumb as you are
(you master of denial, you mistress of depression)
even you know
no amount of money can make up for missing out
on your first real kiss, your first real date —
learning to navigate
the silly gentle clumsy
ups and downs and shy laughter
of love and sex with a peer
someone on your own level.
Even now
it’s hard to wrap your mind around
the fact that when you wrapped your legs around
that rapist
that woman
you might have thought you were grown
but really
you never



February Ice Years

Walking south down Broadway
I wiped my nose and smelled a woman
still on my knuckles
stiff from the cold
reminding me of February
Eighth Grade
ice years back…
that big woman on top of me
smelling of spit, cum, sweat and Nivea lotion…
that narcotic blue jar
filled with white cream so peaked
I was afraid to touch it
so wide and wet
I could hear it speak…
Easy to see a baby’s head ready to crown
watch its gum cut a tooth
Easy to lose my hand inside
the soft large butter rum thighs

There was the smell of paint, dope,
incense and sandwiches
There was the scent of the Electrophonic stereo
glowing eight track quadraphonic blue
like low flames under rice
pots on the chipped enamel stove

It was warm in that stolen king-sized bed
blinds down and bath towels hung
like moss on the iron tall
four-foot-high radiator
standing guard against
the steam-heat pipe-banging night
It was hot under that woman
whose reefer tongue moved inside my mouth
like it was my own
whose weight held me fast to the sheet
whose hand pulled my hand down
to yolk soft liquid
hair between legs
then back to lips

Head buried between that woman’s breasts
I didn’t have to think
just bite the gold
charm of her necklace
Just suck those nipples like the child I was
knowing soon I would switch
to something more grown
like finding that woman with most of my fist
because two or three fingers
were lost children in the wilderness
pennies in the drum

With my face pushed in the pulsing wetness
I couldn’t hear Marvin on the radio
or the wind blow
the sign on the check-cashing place
back and forth on rusted hinges
yelping like a puppy with a broken foot
Just those thighs like shells
clapped over my ears
Just the ocean inside my head
Just in the morning that woman’s voice telling me
Get up sugar
it’s time for school.

Lullaby For a Butch

Saturday night November 1980
I am 23 driving a ’72 Delta east on 4
to the George Washington Bridge
jockeying with other drivers
coming off routes 80 and 47
for a clear veer to the lane my lover
works; the 3 to 11 post-Thanksgiving

She grabs my hand as I fly
money green flags
in her direction
laughing over the moan of diesel brakes
her wool gloved fingers pry then tangle
in my naked palm.
Ignoring the blaring horns outside the booth,
our mutual radios blare the club
version of Grace’s Pull Up to The Bumper
as she steps out on exhausted concrete
to place an orange cone
between my bumper and the
bumper behind mine.

I like her uniform;
fresh polyester dark blue
and bright white collar
topped with overcoat,
scarf and ski cap for the blizzard on the way.
If it snows the Port Authority
puts her up at a motel otherwise
she stays at my place but has to be back
by dawn or be counted AWOL.
So, she’s up before five
folding her flowered pajamas
into the bottom drawer
of my colonial chest
with handles like rings
through a bull’s snout.

“You got my nose,”
moaned the only teenaged woman
whoever loved me
and my tollbooth honey reminds me of her
as I chain the door behind her
hearing steps down five flights
to the street, the Bridge,
and the gun metal morning.

I always loved
gentlemanly attentive butches
even those who won’t make love
for the first five dates
because they “want to get to know you”
till you beg
and by that time, you’re married.
They want to make sure
all those free concerts
fish dinners
and stories about home
won’t get thrown back
in their teeth
after all,…
butches are vulnerable–
it’s the femmes who are fierce
with their long legs
and tight jeans
making you watch them.
Butches are the sweet ones
with their clean shine shoes and socks
and underwear
smelling of baby powder
and Camay
I loved
the way she wrote her name
in purple script
all over the top sheet
on my coloring pad
when supper was done, and dishes stacked.

I wish I could kiss her now
slide my tongue through the gap
between her teeth
erase the years I fell
for women as distant as Queens
is from the Bronx…
Just hold this butch in my arms
make her know
it’s not the 2 condominiums
she bought with rare pennies
collected on her job
but her
with her broad back
and big hips
and corny sparkling eyes
when she walks around
to open the door
on my side of the car
in front of the skinny eyes
of the fat boy dealers
strutting in and out
of their customized vans
and the heads rolling in
from Jersey.
She doesn’t even see
the tooth sucking teens
as she walks back around
in her ten-gallon brim
to slide behind the wheel.
Doesn’t tell me where we’re
going till we’re parked and walking
out of the lot
up the block
arms linked
to see Patti Labelle
LIVE at the Savoy
and I’m on my heels
all night screaming
through till the last song
running my fingers up the back of her neck
till the walls come down, tables break in half,
everybody’s glass explodes
ice cubes hailing the city for miles
as Patti rains on
all of us
Over the Rainbow
way up high
there’s a
land that I dreamed of
once in a lulla-