The Cost of Living

Selected poems from a book of poetry in progress:
The Cost of Living: Meditations on a Year in New York City

Movement #5: Odessa

Candles flicker
And the red orbs flash
Upon my silhouette
Casting fire-light down
Along the muted stand.

Reds and browns and crystalline
Libations squat and

While lively guitar riffs punctuate
The smiling faces
Of those long dead
Who wait above me.

And I find that
I like this place.

Movement #8

(click dialtone click refusal)

I find that humans are not
Rational beings; we are saddles horses,
Beasts driven by instinct and fears,
On all sides menaced by the movements
Of ideas not our own.

We champion cultures
set upon us by
(un)happy chance,
And locate our beliefs
Of irrefutable truths
In the mad scrawling of
Men whose natural minds
Would be wholly shattered
By the notion of indoor plumbing.

We choose those who are
To lead our race into tomorrow
As one does a favored sports-club.
And likewise,
Onto these cultural athletes,
These bastions of spectrum and hue,
We pledge our undying fanaticism;
Their slogans and colors we hold
As proxy for our own identity,
Our souls like a sweatshirt emblazoned
With their political brand.

We hate ourselves, virulently,
With all the twisted vitriol
A being can possess; while
With our divine image, a
Holy avatar we construct
Of our own fearful symmetry.

We are creatures of extremes,
Slaves beholden to our temperaments,
To fits of passion and the laws
Randomly engraved within our cells and DNA.

Mankind is not truly wretched,
But he is a coward; he is
One who fears, above all,
The unspeakable horror which comes
From the unknotting of his own mind.

Man is an ass, who must be
Coaxed and prodded—driven
Into his own happiness
With a carrot of lies and subterfuge.

Sometimes, I think:

Though we, as a species,
May profess otherwise,
Our nature’s dearest wish,
Our most visceral desire,
Is to find ourselves a cave
Within which to cross our gangly legs
And stare at the elongated shadows
Projected upon the wall.

Movement #11

The late autumn air
Breaks like waves upon
My insulated chin

And I am

Warmed by the steady pulse
Of errant lamplight, beating
Through the managed foliage,
New York’s very own


And the soft, bundled form
That clings ever so gingerly
To my side

Right now I see

The banks and eddies
of Central Park ripple out as
they pool beneath my collected

Atomic structure

A great sea of aging foliage
Its vast elongated greens transmuted
To brown and saffron


It is in these quiet moments
When only the amiable lapping of reality
Fills my senses, that I realize

Life is good.