your fingers  cured as leather
surprise my cheek and bottom lip
by instinct i recoil
i know you felt it
i smile face looking down
you look at the alley
changing the subject
to how fast flowers die
after being picked without chemical support
by instinct i recoil
paranoid that you might be talking about me
later on in the cobalt night
sitting on my kitchen counter
hoping that maybe those lived in fingers
might think of caressing me again

the photo

there you are ever so elusive little girl in marching boots eyes full of emotions jaded and dry your face long hair going it’s own way and your lips couching words hardly ever spoken what happened to you can you tell me anything or do you assume i already know the pillow the dark room the old narrow bed sheets scratching and pricking like thorns and when it was over the negative processed in the infinite dark rooms of our mind days became stages of distortion where actors die to live but you exit right all the time the night’s cusp on your worried face the wider you smile the deeper the pain snapshot smile snapshot cry snapshot deny 

MAT gala

by 4:30 in the morning id be standing in line at the MAT with about 20 others in front of me Barbara wore pink and red when id see her every other day plus holidays if needed there was a shine to the clinic’s sea shell pink linoleum floor tiles learning to hone my ADD mind to the specks of tan and baby blue accents on the tiles id imagine that i was at the bottom of a fish tank i noticed that on Thursday mornings the floor was freshly waxed as the foot prints of my ragged American flag high top Chucks were captured on the surface it fascinated me at times but more often than not i felt shame wondering if this would be the only place id ever leave my mark the tired medical staff started the dosing at 5:30 and then you could wait a bit to see your therapist Barbara was one of the first transgender people id ever met she was really tall and with huge feet a blond wig like Charo’s nest sat atop her head Barbara’s eyes were jet black and big as prunes i loved her caramel skin and wondered about everything that might have made her decide to follow this path the little scars on her face and limbs weren’t caused by happy childhood memories like falling off your bike or whatever Barbara was obviously a warrior on days that we managed to find two empty chairs next to each other she’d tell me about the tricks she’d turn and how rent was getting crazy i was a dumb kid half my nights were spent in bushes at Pershing Square i didn’t know about life or rent and i was lucky enough to not have to turn to trickery during the holiday season i wanted to give Barbara a red lipstick that i had bought from Estee Lauder Barb was really nice to me she walked with my soul through the valley of the shadow of LA after three missed visits i found out through “one fuck” Clark another clinic patron and a one hit porn wonder i guess that’s where the “one” came from that Barbara got busted for hooking and was at County cooling off for a bit i drew hearts and skulls in the bathroom later with the fancy lipstick


my mother and my father would fight about the air around them or about Jimmy Carter and about their marital problems tired old words leadless bullets that i took for them a meek child called to be King Solomon at 4 the trees and blocks and baby dolls were not enough to free me from the painful heavy feeling in my post toddler soul an orphan in the house of everything meaningless clean sanitary and paid for but not love i had 30 pieces of silver 7 times more and i kissed no one and no one kissed me when i bruised my knees or when the Armenian kids beat me up after school or when i cut the rope and wandered off into the womb of my city the yellow brick road didn’t exist but there were miles and miles of pavement where gentle hands and toothless grins had my best interest at times and at times i grew up the hard way but between stolen 4th of July Fireworks shows OD visits to the ER home cooked waffles at Astrid’s house boys with rainbows in their eyes and a few good angels i learned how to love