she was sorting her brothers socks and folding underwear patterned with horses and rockets when her mother appeared in the doorway and said touch my breast and then got sick and better and pregnant with more boy and more laundry she never got over the lump her pregnancies were tumors so she went on the road to Pennsylvania and then Cuba where there would be no anesthesia excited by what her body could do she became flesh and a hot knife and threw a party after each one
friend, how did you wind up at the end of a barrel? I was a young man out on a run I was telling stories in my mother tongue at work oh, at school what happened to make you the form of betrayal we are shot through friend, what were you thinking when you pressed the trigger? look at all they get away with my disease of despair red ants on fire boomerang roosters coming home friend, what makes you so easy to shoot?
young man on the edge of the floor at studio 54 where the girls dance in sea foam synthetic silks circled by men in iridescent suits no need to feel down a baby in the round the building of a tower tenants swimming in cold water the voices in his head recall a time of expensive hamburgers opulence and AIDS just before teenage boys dissolve into the ink of The Daily News young man cemented in 1982 gloria is just a girl and she says everybody wants you hangin' on a line
Ashli Babbitt climbs a suicide extinguisher frienemy ripples the surface of a year Ashli Babbitt drives shouldering stories in her sack freedom persecution the border is a mess Ashli Babbitt dives backwards reality is a lie Dark to light! God knows, god sees and he is incoming!
my heart goes out looking found a passion salacious gossip honor and accusations against me the promise of our future make no mistake you are the backbone let us remember you are the people who turn to violence make the United States of America what it is
I know your pain I know your hurt It was stolen from us You have to go home now We have to have peace We have to have law order time a thing happened have to have anybody hurt see what happens they could take it away so bad the way others are so bad and so evil I know your hurt I know your pain I know your hurt go home great people
the nurse got better then had a stroke she reached for a friend who died of something else and then a lover, an uncle a neighbor, a teacher I'm so sorry she said I wish I could be there but I can't.
what's the word for this gathering air damp with their breath defiant thrust of naked chin what they know they keep folded up in wallets the exercise of a right a liberty and shame
I find him, tall and lanky, unloading a truck with his Dad who looks at me sideways I am hoping to talk to — He's on our books as a Democrat. But the father is not. To talk to the teenage voter I have to get around this man I make myself small Just following up to make sure— the son comes closer I give him the rap turns out he's already dropped his ballot off Oh that's great! I run down our list of candidates and ask: Can we count on your support? No. I can see his Dad's eyes on him he can feel them on his back. I can't tell— is he proud or ashamed?
The Libertarian asks what I think of Kamela and what she said about Biden in the debate I do not believe you are a racist, she said before taking him apart for cozying up with segregationists I say I am behind the criticism of his policies— how can I support Biden, he interjects, if he's a racist? I've been down this road before with the guy energized by the discovery that people on the left vote for racists as if that makes me and him the same there are moments in history, she said when states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people I forget to pivot to the story of the racism we share I return to local candidates running on conviction and compassion but he prefers to crow over my hypocrisy for a few minutes, sitting with him on his porch, I am lost he has an energy a low menace, its own thrill I take him in, bearded motorcycle lover with a good belly living in a comfortable suburban home in an all-but-gated community an answer to a question that was lingering in my head Kamela and that little girl was me.