they say


they say how is life i say

like travelling on the metropolitan—

train lines like time lines

watching stations of opportunity grow closer and disappear

choose to get off or don’t

but each moment seized means a different train

this is not what they want so they say

how do you spend your days and i say

like a rich man does—

without any thought to their price

i empty my pockets of hours

and throw them on the pavement

they say how are you finding the city

i say—by opening my window

they say how do you tie your scarf i say

never well enough

say you must be Parisian

i say

i almost wish

they say how can you fit so many bottles into a closet

i say one can always find room for friends

they ask how i write

i say by trying hard not to

ask how i stay afloat

i say with difficulty—

but the hollowness helps

they ask if i want a hit

so i show them the other cheek

they say what does love mean to you—

i can’t answer

so they ask

how i think

about time

like a street bum rehearsing a tune i say—

he is fun to consider but

if i think too long about his outstretched hands and the cold


despair sinks in

so i try not to look

finally they say then how can you take it

and i reply—usually black

but recently i’ve been adding sugar

to make the bitter go down easy