Praise

The stars come out
at night
but so do rats

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Poem for October Shootings

Another autumn comes
to get the trees stoned,
to squeeze your hand
with thin and late light
a little on this street
that’s shaded by all these
ancient sycamores. You love
the scraggy sounds
those giant leaves
make when, dried-out,
they fall, and run like rats
down the street when wind
comes around that corner
that’s actually a dive bar.
The soul spittoon’s only windows
are narrow glass cinder blocks,
castle slits, so you’re spared
from seeing the dead/dying
who sit in there and watch
a small television
in the moist underworld,
who sometimes shoot each other
dead-for-real just outside the door
of this cave establishment,
because someone else just said
what they were already
thinking about themselves
in a cruelly honest way.