N  a  p a  l  m     H  e  a  l  t  h     S  p  a  :     R  e  p  o  r  t     2  0  0  6









They don’t belong to us anymore, the poems.

It seems a catastrophe, a miracle.

Like you, they wander the streets

looking for someone to sing to;

they are lonely, beaten, and old.

I regret having written them

like I regret having loved you.


The damage is irreversible.

I am as tired as they are.

We are scattered now,

caught in the wind

of a New York street corner,

cold, longing, and forced.


The party was torn apart by drunkenness,

the ballroom is now empty,

with the champagne spilled,

like our tongues

against one another.







Before I could contradict your touch

your mouth,

a flask of beauty,

filled me with Dionysian surrender,

and your deep breath

warmed the December room

that was my life.


Before you asked,

I answered “yes” with a hungry sigh,

and your hands heated the way

to my bed

as you laid me down

in the gentle welcome

of feathers and long, sweet kisses.


Before I could consider the origin of trembling

or the nocturnal weakness of our bodies,

we tore the hinges from the night

and Dawn peaked

through the window

with a blushing smile.




Too Tired To Kneel



As of late, the sky has been turbid,

the bus crowded,

the streets black and

leaking at 50th Street and 7th Avenue

an ephemeral steam of some long forgotten tension.


I shake off the pollution of an afternoon commute.

New York City:

harsh words, the insulting glare

of white subway car lights

that make even the beautiful

look dead and frantic.


Walking uptown from the station

I pass an old church

whose windows look troubled with prayer.

Everyday I consider stopping,

but everyday I am too tired to kneel.





A Walk to a Pier



The winter turned out to be the shade of my tears.

We were walking through Riverside Park

when I noticed this phenomenon.


I looked at you askance and desperate.

Your breath rose indifferently into the gray air

smearing into the warm hue

uttered by a red light that pulsed gently

at the end of a dock.

There, a little wreck of a boat

treaded water breathlessly,

drifting away piece by piece

into the Hudson River.


I stood weak and quiet

until out of me came a far away voice,

“By spring I’ll be gone.”




I, like a lunatic


-         to Zhenya Yevtushenko

written a few weeks after 9-11-2001



I, like a lunatic,

have continued to talk to you

even though we parted ways

after too many vodkas

over  breakfast

at the Plaza Hotel

too many years ago.


Because you are who you are,

your mouth

always opening

to release new humor and hope,

will you speak to me again

as I reach for you

through labyrinths of shock

in this uncertain glow

of unannounced catastrophe?


Will you answer me

in your deep Russian accent

through your dusty, blue eyes,

with your wisdom

of time

my questions…


Where does one put the ruins

of a day?

Where does one put her tears

for a nation?

When does one learn to breathe



I, like a lunatic,

have not slept in weeks

and despite the years

long to speak with you,

of all the people that I’ve

said goodbye to

on a New York street corner.