I take messages

from anonymous callers –

they are persistent.


I can’t remember

if we thought it was special,

or just for laughs.


If you were famous,

I’d trace your silhouette,

then scratch it out.


It’s a suspicion

we need to demystify

from all angles.


There is a window

to a room, with a mattress,

where I used to live.


Reading the paper,

I see a picture of you,

and your daughters.


She wears a hijab,

in keeping with tradition,

and her sense of pride.


This is fantasy,

even so, I can’t decide

what might transpire.


Real Boy. 2

I don’t dance,

because dancing reminds me of you –

I don’t sing,

because I have a terrible voice –

In fact, there is very little that I do.

I don’t cook.

I don’t exercise.

I don’t read, unless the teacher assigns it.

I don’t get high, anymore.

I walk – it soothes me.

I walk, in all kinds of weather.

If I ran, I could escape my past.

But I don’t want to escape my past.

I want to understand it.

Real Boy. 1

I vaguely remember an ambush.

A restructuring in the classroom – taking you away from me.

I remember our first dinner date –

sardines, in your driveway,

with your dad, circling on his Harley –

I was three. You were four.

I’ve always had a thing for older women.

You were blond. So was I, before my hair started to darken.

My housekeeper was jealous.

“It’s because nobody likes him!”

She warned my mother, one evening.

But we stayed together,

in our little Lego house,

and just talked,

while far away the teacher sang about wheels on a bus,

going round, and round,

I was stung by a bee, and cried.

Suddenly I wasn’t man enough for you,

or your dad’s Harley.

I don’t remember much after that,

just lying on the grass,

wondering what sardines were.


I’m on sideways,

loosely balanced forethought,

good manners, and a blowtorch.

I scrape your face with flame,

I thought you’d like the picture,

it’s a beautiful ideal,

I can’t get you out of my mind.

I’m lost in place,

trying to understand your beauty.

Maybe if I’d known

I wouldn’t have fucked up so bad,

and you’d still be here –

the picture of innocence, the wisdom of experience –

Still I carve on,

raising my mask, looking up at the sky,

my crippled mind your ultimate reflection.

Afterlife In Philadelphia

I dreamed I died.

I hadn’t

told you something

I didn’t want

you to know –

in my afterlife

I regretted it.

I searched for you, but you were gone.

When I got there,

The place was as empty

as my soul.

This is my smile – do you like it?

It was my smile

the day I died.

Who am I kidding?

You are not here – I am looking in the mirror.

The eyes are the windows to the soul.

My soul is without windows.

My soul is the tenth floor of a hotel in Philadelphia,

with snakes and turtles in the refrigerator.

I’m looking up.

I’m always looking up.

I’m no longer looking for you.

I have something to tell you,

Wait –

What do you hear?