There is no title, there are no answers.

All the sentimentality dripped out of me
Like the trickle from a slowly bleeding
Cut, standing in the sun somewhere off Montford Avenue
Just a stone’s throw from the site
Of so many sleepless and haunted nights

All the kudzu and ivy and moss
Creeping across the cracked concrete sidewalks
And streets we once called home could never recycle
The accumulated pains poisons of lives hard lived
Or breathe new life back into the fabric of threadbare souls

If you could start over
If you could start over
Live it all over again
How far back would you go?
How many years would it take?
To dissolve the scar tissue from
Liver, lungs, heart, and soul?

Brown glass glinting in the waning light
Concrete drunk on the sun’s heat
It’s just mountain and sky and you and I
Standing in the shadows of the world
That left us far behind

They say you can’t put your arms around a memory
Or put your fist through one either
But memory might be the only affordable place to live these days

The lights went out in every house
We called home long ago
Those elegant eyesores scattered through town
Windows open with the fan on
Whirring into the endless sweltering nights
Inhaling exhaust and ozone and industry
The lockstep march of progress into infinity

Humble streets full of beginnings and endings
I know you were there, in the rain
A funeral march down Courtland Avenue
A mourning barge burning and a slow rolling train
What did we fight for?

What did we live for?

This is, we are.

Saw a dead mouse in the driveway
Walking home from work
Not a mark on its tiny body
Just like it was lying there, asleep.

It seemed significant
Or like it should be
Like when we were young
And my friend
Came across dismembered
Bird wings lying on city streets
Every day for a week
She took it as a sign
That the world is ending

That’s when we started
Drinking cup after cup
Of black coffee
In the opening
Days of the anthropocene
Desperate to know
What it all means

Back then we wore
Our worries on our sleeves
We battered our hearts
Against every street
Like they were our shields
Drank through our nights
Into the morning

Now we wait
And watch
Powerless to stop
Unable to look away

4.8.22

I used to write poetry
Now I barely read it
Late at night
Longing for a blank page
To fill of its own volition

As if some wishful magic
Could call who
I once was
Home to myself

All the hard years
Bleed together
The steel city
To Philly and
Then home again.

Heartbreak and getting gone
Too soon or too late
Depending on the day
Making way to them good times
Come back round again

Cancer scare
Holding my best friend
As she took her last breath
All the ache bled
Into an ink dry riverbed
Of empty nights
Flowing one to the next

Put my head down
Counted the days
While I bled and ached
Raised my eyes again
Just in time for the next war

This is not
My first experience
With irony
Or even my worst
Just the latest.

A self-involved view
Of the next world war
If there ever was one,
For sure.