Bus riders shout about the plague in America,

how God, family & faith are the ways to get through.

She believes in holy shit & science.

She steps out of the bus without touching anything,

except her iced venti tea, & a paper straw covering

she twists around & around in her left fingers,

as if it were prayer beads or a Catholic rosary.

Praying for an empty street at Skillman Ave.,

she breathes a masked sigh of relief; a new day begins!

As she surveys a crammed Queens Boulevard ahead—

the world is still moving along,

even when most people are staying still.   

Police officers crowd around 

in the Grand Central Station mezzanine.

Two of them board the 7 train, 

partially masked, their noses visible.

In the subway car, to my right, 

a woman speaks to her daughter in Spanish, 

her face in full view.

Does she see the police officers in the back?

Does she care at all about the rest of us?

Can she not breathe with a mask on?

I stay a safe distance from both conversations;

my mask snug on my face,

the train smells like cleaner.

Will we get cleaner?

Will strangers ever see my lips again?

Will I still be late for work? 

Thanks to the current climate,

I’m pliable as a piece of dough

made for baking—

Today’s heat

now saps all my energy; 

the extra weight 

has made me feel slower; 

fear has infected my system 

like simple gluten.

People are still making

sourdough bread,

posting it online, Zooming it…

I have no time or desire 

to make sourdough bread.

Sometimes 

I feel sour in the head;

sometimes

my body feels like bread—

& I need

to snap myself out of it;

to metaphorically

punch myself 

into a new attitude—

Next week

will be different;

us librarians

will be no longer resting 

& covered up with damp towels

in a bowl (or tub).

Our brains will be useful again,

but the air outside

is still shaken with certain illnesses.

The thought of it

sours me whole;

a lot of good bread

is already infected 

& where can we eat at work?

From Avenue A to Abingdon Square

I traced my tracks towards the setting sun

on one of the loveliest afternoons one week before the summer solstice,

stopping only for vegan ice cream

handmade by adorable, tattooed, black eye-lined angel girls

who top off every sundae with coconut whipped cream and an organic black cherry.

That made the trip worth taking. 

The LES still rang its punk bell since the early ‘80s. 

Young punks still piss and moan loudly on the street under tagged tenement buildings 

as the old-timers and confused tourists escaped into Russ & Daughters and Katz’s.

On Orchard Street, I was feeling nostalgic, 

but since I misplaced the boutique where I brought my wedding dress twelve years earlier, 

I had no business remaining there.



4th Street brought me to Cooper Square, NoHo, Lafayette, and NYU, 

as the sky slowly turned golden.

I wanted some more day time in the East Village 

before darkness claimed its hold upon the city, 

so I walked to Bleecker, a special street; 

(sometimes I wish it was a man, so I can both fuck and romance it).

As the sky grew bands of blue, gray and pink, 

I rode to M12 home, chasing the last, magnificent dregs 

of this golden hour, of this golden day, to evening:

crossing under the High Line, 

lapping by the mighty Hudson, 

towards home, to the middle of the city.

No one cares

if a black, kindly neighbor 

goes to the neighborhood bodega

& ends up dead

No one cares

if a woman, clad in a tight miniskirt,

gets fondled, fingered or raped

without her consent;

she was probably asking for it—

No one cares

when Asians get harassed 

or spat upon in the subway:

they’re the carriers of disease.

No one cares

if Native Americans lose

another acre of land

to big corporations fracking & pipelining

No one cares

about the illegals:

they should remain at the border,

penned up like animals

No one cares 

about sexual deviants.

Why should they marry each other & raise kids?

Why should they want to change their gender?

& no one gives a damn

about the children:

when their parents die,

when injustice wins—

Wait a minute:

Everyone cares!

That’s why they’re marching,

Mr. President—

They do give a damn!

Not everyone’s apathetic;

that’s why

they’re taking it to the streets!

Not everyone 

are looters or criminals 

or rebel-rousers;

they don’t need to

wave their Bibles—

Enough is enough.

Even those staying at home 

are with the protesters.

That’s why we chose 

not to tune in to your speech

on television yesterday;

you want to change America 

into a military task force state.

That is not our America. 

We don’t care for that.

Black lives matter.

Women’s lives matter.

Asian lives matter.

Native American lives matter.

Latino & Hispanic lives matter.

LGBTQIA lives matter.

Children’s futures matter.

We all matter—

we’re still alive & kicking

& we don’t care

to be considered

as criminals 

in America,

no more!

May 1:

“Damn straight,” she commented under her breath,

as another rainy morning began, ruining the annual parade.

May 2:

Traffic lights change for no reason

in the 2 am rain; she’s still awake,

May 3:

raising her knees over her heart while in bed,

keeping the swelling in her legs down.

May 4:

Trying to let go of all tensions with deep breathing,

random words and musical motifs still play in her brain—

May 5:

Gratitude slowly germinates in her bones,

even with buried sorrow & pain.

May 6:

Time burrows under the skin,

compounding all drugs affecting internal organs—

May 7:

She screamed at her man, for spilling bathroom refuses

before he got rid of his full beard.

May 8:

Thursday night: Serious words were going down;

she showed her heart on video & was recorded for sound.

May 9:

A bonus margarita (without rocks) came in the 2nd delivery bag,

as an apology for the missing pair of Mexican Cokes.

May 10:

Mama’s love is everlasting; it keeps us 

grounded, steadfast & young during dark times.

May 11:

But Mama’s love couldn’t erase her daughter’s inner pain;

stars are not random objects stuck on black bitumen—

May 12:

Everyone’s betting upon where & when we all can travel again;

she wonders if she could ride the subway to Queens without getting sick—

May 13:

Time moves slowest

when one wants to receive any message—

May 14:

Fears inside of her spill out during meditation

through her toes, with the consistency of black tar.

May 15:

“People, we y’all need to breathe. The worst has passed; our state’s reopening!”

But—we still need to wear masks outside & in the subway…

May 16:

Is there anyone out there?

We wait for our nephew’s birthday to virtually begin—

May 17:

The toy dinosaurs were a hit.

Thank God they weren’t alive—

May 18:

Caught in her cocoon, she waits for the sun,

wondering if her wings would ever reappear—

May 19:

Last night’s steak smell overpowered the early morning at her apartment.

Her Southbound wings were still in transit,

May 20:

Her anger was like a watercolor painting; every color bled into each other 

as she screamed & destroyed the room (like Barry Egan did in Punch-Drunk Love)

May 21:

Her inner fireworks never stoked her fears,

but today’s now quiet—it’s time to go back to work.

May 22:

The cold water caught in a red Solo cup;

she swallowed it down, getting rid of last night’s Parmesan.

May 23:

First book is now out-of-print;

the fates of the musical spirits who had played Carnegie Hall are now unknown—

May 24:

A freshly-minted panic attack woke her up 

from deep sleep—or, a mini-seizure (in reverse?)

May 25:

On Memorial Day, she saw women strut the screen 

as the words in her head violently danced.

May 26:

She heard a poem about the newly dead after waking up.

When will her heart stop its constant racing?

May 27:

She woke up, alarmed, in a stranger’s bed; charmed by

her dream of a parallel life: She was married with 3 kids—

May 28:

It was just a crazy dream. Still married, sans kids.

Still has a major crush on Gov. Cuomo—

May 29:

This hot, little honey has made it back on Zoom! 

Oh, money! Good to see her friends again.

May 30:

But the library will still take a while to open up—

to staff members, to patrons & to the public.

May 31:

But right now, thanks to police brutality against George Floyd,

the streets are on fire, nationwide.