on the perpetually wet streets of Clifton

10 pm
fresh out of sin
headed for a sip
in a bergamot tearoom
I became distracted
my January boots
compelled
to follow memories
through puddles of patchouli oil
stalls peddling shiny baubles
half finished dissertations
and bohemian postulation
stopping abruptly
at Biagio’s Bistro
fine Italian cuisine
featuring a gourmet dessert cart
a self service bar for the regulars
despite having
no customers &
a candlelit patina
covering
a thousand nights
spent ruining tablecloths
lovingly destroying
illusions
your every word brilliant
eyes alight
that saccharine fucking
Andrea Bocelli CD playing
on maddening repeat
my laughter too loud
for the intimate room
we were certainly doomed
our conversations
were always the wildest sex
i smiled remembering
into the fezziwig glow
of the old window
warmed by the fact
they still haven’t dusted
when
my ears perked alive
as suddenly crept
haunted sounds of
a minstrel show
a hand
strumming a guitar
your voice
in half notes
amidst sodium lamp motes
drawing me toward
that ancient apartment building
where you
serenaded me
I began to
swiftly seek
certain
I would find you
if only the source of the sound
was located
before the melody ended
rounding the corner
I found myself all alone
with weary dumpsters & brownstones
breathing clouds of longing
hair damp
with the scent
of dead pine wreaths
& recollection
because
truth be told
i miss my friend
so true without you
there will never again be
music for me
on the perpetually wet streets
of Clifton

Dinner at the Sizzler

if purgatory

is a soup kitchen line

in a catholic church

hell

is serving up grub

on the corner of 8th & vine

southern baptists

pulling up

in their tax exempt jesus wagon

to serve homeless people

hot chili in july

heaven, happens

in Cincinnati

when pigs fly

Mother-Over-the-Rhine

we were four madcaps deep

in a ratskeller bathroom stall

stoned

within boozy historic walls

one of us pissing

three of us smoking

all of us drinking

3 queens and a king holding court

in the men’s room shitter

gods were made

mushroom euphoric

k-hole bar bouncers lamented

upstairs Nagasaki

our glee

our group dynamic pee

a urinal patron

chimed in

with delighted confusion

so

my lips began

to recite a poem

summoned at will

about buying tickets to the show

spoken word,

nay,

spoken turd, i say

he laughed and applauded

on the other side

of our bomb shelter door

in that moment

we

truly lived

Aralee

they had a wake

for aralee strange

in a bar

where university poets

showed up to behave

like academic sharks

sparring with street poet jets

i sat beside a man who was

a monolithic Jewish Poseidon professor

on a funeral date

wrong for me

i,

equally wrong for he

though it doesn’t keep me from missing him

weeping openly

in a room full of

a species of staue

films of her played

as her southern voice caused

candlelit

unbloomed lily buds

in table vases

to burst open

Liturgy of the Hours

every night you were away

i sought you out

through blackberry bramble ether

from weeping constellations above dixmyth avenue

to jessamine county barns filled with horse hay

perpetually wrapping blue ribbon around my finger

whispering vespers

my plea to the particles of the universe

to hold you together

to bring you back from oblivion

as you had done for me

you are my chosen family

inextricably part

of my thunderous heart

to which you will always hold the latchkey

across the ohio

when the oxycodone and meth crops fail in kentucky

the country folk flock

across the ohio river into cincinnati

to go to the open air opioid market

people once came to the queen city from the south

to get factory jobs that no longer exist

they were called briar hoppers

we don’t have a name for these new immigrants

other than marginalized, homeless, inmate, and DOA’s

but they’re good at making change

a five dollar bill on the streets of this town

will turn into a baggy of heroin

faster than it will turn

to singles

sweetly, simply

ice blue shimmer

swaddling a snowy city

morning is being delivered

at the library’s

side door

i crosswalk dash

through breathy billows

from my rose red lips

a parliament of cellos

cooing ave maria to a piano in my mind

focused on the coming coffee and time clock

when the man walking passed me

lifts my trance by smiling

sweetly, simply he says,

“beautiful…”

asphalt nile

driving to work

sleepy eyes searching for signs

of life

rounding mount adams

on columbia parkway

asphalt nile

church of the immaculata watching over

queen’s tiara skyline

the city unfurls

buildings rising

to meet the sunlight

morning glory blossoms

in cincinnati

 

 

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