Five For My Eye: V

In atelier’s confines, an unseen canvas,
not for my eyes, plays upon maestro’s
fragmented mind.  He knows that I see
all through fraudulent spectacles, wry
smile yanking at dripping lips on this
formless day, almost gone as we sip
on snifters of sunset, honeyed and
hot on espresso coated throats.

Venetian blue clad mademoiselles
sneak in through open apertures,
inhaling paint fumes, sour and stark,
still lingering from desperate December
evenings, when steady fingers trembled and
blushing sacrifices went up in flames
while shedding slick, greasy tears under
the artificial glow of night.

I was not put on this earth to pick up
stacks of out-of-date newspapers
, he exhales
with disdain, regarding me warily with an
Aperol-tainted face.  Those half-baked
heralds scattered upon floorboards, those
collapsed playing cards of the lowlands,
those bleating sheep, those fountains
of songs, those aves del paraíso, falling atop
each other heavily with silent, gaping
mouths like vanquished bulls left to bleed
out beneath an apathetic star.

In space between forefinger and thumb,
luminous suits fall under sweeping veils of
tyranny. A sky that we cannot see becomes
camouflaged by clouds that we cannot touch
and the advancing storm beyond the far
wide-window is nothing next to the great
squall within.

In the corner by the fifth column, fantastical,
muted labyrinths of flesh with gleaming
teeth soundlessly beg to be made whole through
vacant iguana eyes, desperately desiring to
be unshackled from the eternal shades of
gray that fused their shattered bones
together as the deafening roar of the almighty
elephant dragged on.



This is the final installment in a series of five poems inspired by the photography of Constantine Brassaï.

Five For My Eye: IV

Our Lady lights the way
shift is done, but before
the fun, four flagging
feet round the
corner and
stop under a streetlamp
for a smoke of

Is that her apple
in my pocket?

Face to chin under a
shorn Pegasus,
heels scrape down
on cold curb in front of
the obsidian twin who
prowls nearby.

Fingertips graze
tough red skin

Damp bodies huddled
in doorways and
ecstasy hold down
night with hot
sloppy kisses; without
them this street would
vanish – but this is

Sweetness rolls over
parched lips.

What crime shall
to this place
when souls of
the city can
barely stand?


This is the fourth installment in a series of five poems inspired by the photography of Constantine Brassaï.

Five For My Eye: II

Smoke swings in the air,
drowning us in oyster fumes.

I’ll never scrub it out of my skin.
I sit here waiting, having
arrived ten minutes ago.
I was hot then but now
I am turning tepid.

You sit there and feebly flirt;
bumping me with your elbow
as if I’m not even here.
Why did I bother?

He’s not really interested in you, you know.
He comes here; he passes time with you, but
do you honestly think he will take you home?
Or pen you into his biographical tome?
Why do you bother?

Stop blowing smoke in my face!

Wake up!
Don’t you see that he is looking past
you into the mirror to ensure that his
hair is still perfectly quaffed?
A suspicious wife is a willful wife.
I’ve tried to shine truth upon you.

If I could walk out right now, I would.
You must leave first.

This night grows weary of your laughter.
I grow weary of this night.


This is the second in a series of five poems inspired by the photography of Constantine Brassaï.

Five For My Eye: I

Every night I sit in this nook.
Every night I knock down this whisky.
Every night I watch that woman.
Five balls left on the billiards table.
Five blokes left in this room.
There aren’t enough corners for our wretchedness.
Maybe I’ll slip into the drop pocket.
Gretel sets the cue on the ledge to watch
the raindrops mingle with the window panes.
The streets lamps were lit hours ago,
yet the shadows are what she craves.
She snatches up the stick.
Four balls left
With her 1941 Volkswagen figure, Betty Boop cheeks, and
Hansel haircut, she’s not out of the woods yet.
The only men who sleep with her are the ones
who don’t want to lie down with their wives.
They have their turn, building a house of cards on her
ample bosom before returning to tuck their young
ones in for the night.
Nobody seems to be picking up her crumbs.
She’s been playing against herself since the day she was
born, emerging from the womb with that black wool
skirt molded to her frame, brown pumps scraping her
mother’s insides on the way out.
I’m lucky I can still count to five.
Three balls left
The young dentist from Biesdorf steals a glance at
his watch before emptying his shot glass, wiping
his damp forehead with a trembling palm.
His eyes have been playing ping pong with her backside
for over an hour but we all know that he discarded his
nerve with his galoshes when he walked through that door.
This tooth fairy won’t be pulling anything tonight.
Two balls left
We exchange the penitent dentist for a burst of frigid air
which greets each one of us with a firm handshake.
Once again the heavy door plugs up the path to privation.
Gretel winks at me.
One ball left and she’s poised to strike.


This is the first in a series of five poems inspired by the photography of Constantine Brassaï.