the night before i died

before I left work
the temperature dropped
a good twenty degrees
in a fit and frenzy of a storm.

one hand smiled content in
a pocket while
the other called “home”
on speed dial.

walking, kicking leaves
blown down nonchalant
restless corners
yellow brown and dying

my mom talked about Christmas
and I talked about my cat
and with a “say hi to dad”
I hung up.

night crawler (the moon and people like me)

where darkness
leads a whiskey shot
with no chaser
claw the burn and the dizzy

where alone
with moans of an E minor
strokes my thin camisole
that dews see through with sweat

even the moon
is submissive on a Tuesday
settles for the blackout
spills out ‘cross the street

where the devil says
i am your sweet tooth baby
i am your lizard king
waste your days, feel whole again —

that’s
where
I
wait.

cab in Tampa

then i’m in a cab in Tampa
and the woman
says that in Christmas they camp
and one year
the cold kept them in the van
with homemade stew
and strings of cranberries

outside the palm trees
snuggle with the humidity
and again the woman says
she’s been driving for 25 years and
when she turns 50
the theme of the party will be
life is highway

aren’t we all just another fare,
another green light to
leave behind.

an American tourist in Rome (circa 2002)

i take a rest on a dusty rock
that whispers “2,000 years ago
in the valley of the Roman forum…”
and i lean in close

i realize everything:
notice now the graffiti
the red wine making toasts
the Italian playing John Denver
the gelato sliding down your tongue

i watch the wheels of the bus leaving
my breath stolen straight from my pores by ghosts

splendere i come Roma

when the Atlantic coast is your only passenger

tonight, it is done–
the half moon is your copilot
and you find the iconic
Joni Mitchell and Sam Cooke
agree soulfully that
tonight the steering wheel
feels more alive
that tonight,
when the Atlantic coast is your only
passenger sleeping
somewhat restlessly against the window,
you have
but open miles ahead tonight
and your headlights
witness only the
fringe reminder of trees.