the greatest obstacle

ever conceived

is empty space

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Mr. Riis’s Photographs

they live in their only set of clothes,

clothes that are thin,

torn, and full of



they live in paintless buildings

with windows that cannot shut,

with cracks in the

doors, and walls,


Wind is the enemy,

it blows through their bones,

rattles their teeth.


they sleep in piles together,

in the same clothes,

in single room apartments,

without shelter from the wind.

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I Remember You

all twelve of you,


on the edge of my bed,

watching me in the doorway,

just as you loosed your hair,

just as you took off your shirt,

i took off mine,


and i remember that i did not always have these tattoos,

i did not always walk with my shoulders up,

i once grew out my hair,

and that i sat on the deck in the back yard,

with my feet in the pool,

thinking that this was right now,

and i would remember it later,

as if i had only imagined it,


so as you unhooked your bra,

and i unbuckled my pants i thought,

this is a beautiful moment that i am living in,

but i will wake up later,

without you,

and it will be as if this beautiful moment had never happened at all,

as if you were all just a dream that slid over my mind,

a long time ago,


now i see you,

all twelve of you,


some of you weren’t really looking for much anyway,

at the time, and neither was i,

but some of you were all i had in the world


either way


i see you all as if i had only imagined you,

in the first place,

you are only as real to me now,

as my dreams,

however vivid you are

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How Strange

my life is translating data,

and talking to strangers over the phone

and emailing across the ocean,

about what the information means

in spreadsheets,

typed in foreign languages,

about the strangest data imaginable,

a ledger of physical things that could fill airplane hangars,

written with electrical signals on my screen,

thinner than a book,

like you were listing and cataloging

every object in your bedroom

precisely in case you had to

recognize it across a crowded bar,

or in case you ever had to describe them

to a police sketch artist through tears in your eyes,

“That’s it officer! That’s my pile of unread books!

Please tell me you’ll find him and bring him home?”

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they lied to us,

copper doesn’t turn green at all,

the Lady in the Harbor

is simply sick to her stomach,

watching us all carry on like this,

like a pack of selfish fuckups

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Dream Girl Undone

for a while,

she had your face,

and your hair,


but when i sleep,

and i dream,


i shut the window,

i walk back to the bed,

and i can no longer see her face,

i can’t see her hair,


she could be anyone now,

and when i wake up

she is gone

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I just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself

what do i do with myself?


i feel like

a series of bad ideas,

stacked up in a human shape

sitting on the curb,


maybe i give up,

i give it all up,

and stop dreaming of love,

focus all i am to move back to Queens,


at least when i was lonely in Manhattan,

no one questioned another crazy person

walking streets in the midnight,


I walked all the way from 56th

to the Brooklyn Bridge,

just so I could stand there in the cold,

and look at the City lights,


imagining all the people out there,

and that she might be one of those lights,


that maybe she’d see me,

and run out to meet me on the Bridge,

take my hand and drag me back to her place,

just to talk until the morning peaked in,

and then to sleep


i need love in my life,

i’d be pathetic if i wasn’t

genuinely crazy

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