Short Stack

We’re in the mood for pancakes,
polite servers with southern accents like syrup.
They butter, sir and ma’am us
and charge for the pleasure.

We cross Kings to a small park
free of seasonal tourists, full of permanent ones:
a woman with a pink suitcase
laughing and bouncing by herself;
a couple passed out together on a bench swing,
as if their shared demons melted in the morning sun.

Two men stand on the City of ________ platform
like fellow commuters, waiting to catch the same train.
A security guard walks the pavilion in easy cadence.
He says hello to us as he passes by.
We hello back, mid-swing, like these are our people
and we have always been here.

The sleeping couple shifts, the man grabs
the backpack between them, walks a few steps,
drops down to the green grass. “So soft, so soft…”
The woman stirs, looks over her prostrate partner
at us for a moment, then sinks back into her eyes,
flops onto her back, her face to the sky.

We cross the street, back to the world
of ten-dollar flip-flops, gas stations
and going places.

Manic Monday Challenge: ‘In The Mood’ — Glenn Miller Orchestra



She took the bus to my birthday party and got lost.
When my mother and I found her, she was standing in a red phone-booth.
“Why didn’t your parent’s bring you?”
“I didn’t ask them.”

My mother was worried. I didn’t care.
Angela was new in school, dusky, pretty and rogue.
She was going to be my best friend.

She invited me to her birthday party in return.
Her house was filled with grown-ups, beer and ninja flicks.
“Who are all these people?”
“I don’t know; my parents have many friends.”

I chased her around the compound, her skirt flapping like a sail.
That’s when I knew she was not mine, and would never be.
She would disappear and then return, hug me as if it were penance.
She left me watching Bruce Lee fight his own reflection.

Word Prompt: sail

Swimming in Winter

I signed away my right to go outside,

seeking asylum from my thoughts.

My roommate slept all day and woke at night

speaking gibberish– her name was either ‘Marnie’ or ‘Marry me.’

In the common room, I danced salsa with a boy who jumped off a bridge

because God told him to.  A cop dragged him out of the river

and asked him what the hell he was doing.

“I was swimming.”

“In winter?”

A musician played me his off-key compositions.

I didn’t tell him his songs hurt my head.

I didn’t want to drop him from mania to whatever I was in.

The young girl who refused dinner

came around begging for dessert.

She gobbled up all the pudding then called us names.

We watched as she wrestled the orderlies,

her face flushed, body surging, imperious.

Later, we passed by the quiet room

to see her dancing by herself.

I suppose it was a good sign

we were still singing and dancing.



Word Prompt: commit