some scratches

He slid his bare hands down the subway car pole,
Touched his neighbor’s nose.
Bundled in a red coat,
He removed his superhero hat.
Growled as he placed it on his little fist,
Thrust it in his momma’s face.

I chose to please

some scratches

Be independent
Know your role and play it or else

You can do whatever you want
Do something reasonable that will give you time to be a wife and mother

Money is not everything
Make a lot of money

Do something that will be stable
Nothing is stable

I love you
Just don’t make it hard

You looked lovely and cold as I passed you on the street the other day

some scratches

your green knit hat was pulled down
touching the red rims of your glasses
hands in fists dug deeply into your pocket
like you wanted to punch out the fabric

that’s probably why you didn’t see me

i gather all of my coffee grounds now
compost them on saturdays with apple cores
and banana peels, egg shells and the greens I
can’t seem to finish on my own anymore

did the freezing rain pelt your face like it did mine?

it looks uglier under the orange streetlight than
snow, stings more too
don’t know it’s under your feet
’til you hear the crunch, slip a little


some scratches

I’m tired of picking up the anchor
Let it sit for a while at the bottom there
Collecting seaweed, algae, and moss

The other fish will swim by and see it
We’ll sway along side of them until they pass


some scratches

soft orange light
fan blades twirl

jagged slippery rocks
dirt, unknown minerals

lick the colors like sorbet
plum, purple blackberries

dark barren branches
more leaves to be bedded on the forest floor

White bagel with cream cheese

some scratches

Smoked salmon, capers, dill

The two feet tall ginger baby
wearing a monkey hat
holding an orange purse as long as she was
with a hand extended in the air

Streak of blood staining the blue seat
Remnants of someone’s relieved dinner
splayed in the corner
Black grocery bag
contents unknown

Shifting feet to a beat
Hooded teenager with a skateboard
hopping off at 14th St
Plaid shoe shaken by an impatient leg

The speed and power of the express train
racing through underground tunnels
beneath you


some scratches

Jingle, jingle. The bells on the door sing my entrance.

“Just a minute miss, I’ll be right with you,” he says turning back to his customer. The market is small and narrow. Three brown stools and a thin ledge on the right. A counter on the opposite side has three window displays. Specialty meats, cheeses, olives and pickled vegetables in the first. Prepared antipasti in the middle. Chicken thighs, beefsteaks, and a variety of other meats in the third. Baked bread held in wooden slats on the wall behind the counter. Sparkling water, fizzy soda, and beer in two fridges in the back.

“10 ounces might too big.” With gloveless hands he holds a chunk of red meat above the counter with a knife showing what 10 ounces looks like. “You need like that big,” he takes the knife down half an inch.

“OK,” the customer nods. The man goes back to his cutting board. The customer’s hands burrow more deeply into her heavy black coat. “Hey Jerry, you think that’ll be enough? I mean for two of us?” Her accent is thick Brooklyn, I can hear it now.

“Yeah. Yeah, I think it is,” he says back. And he sounds like Tony Danza. He massages the filets like they’re stress balls as he weighs them.

“They like 8, 8 ounces each.” He weighs them separately, then together. Then separately and together again. “Yeah, like 8. Just cook em in the over for about 15, no more than 15. That’s what I’d do.” His voice is gruff, but kind. He begins wrapping them up in white butcher paper.

“I’m so nervous,” she confesses. “I ain’t nevah done this before. Just 15 minutes? You’d do it 350 too?”

“Yeah, bout that. 350. Sear em first. Then pop em in the oven right with the pan if you got one of those.”

“Yeah, I got one a them.”

“Just do that. 15 minutes. It’ll be perfect.”

She pulls out a couple of $50s and hands him one.

“8, 9, 10, and 20,” he counts back her change.

“I’ll see you later.”

“Yeah,” he says after her. Then looking at me, “what can I get you sweetheart?”