I.    05/2007

               JAGGED CAN BOY, soaking there. 

               Wouldn't you feel better if you were able to see white, milky dresses, a small curl of hair by the

forehead, that slow wake of that old music which is still clicking on the temple. It's all good. It's all about

breathing. Smelling like butter, like back skin,  like dunking heads in water. That clicking, then the still

moaning that's all up in your head, like a sinky boat, all creaks and wafting motion and 

swollen plump wood. The small hairs at your eye's level, touching your nose, attached to another

person's chest, and the breakdown  of some song or another is gumming its way through. Through and 

through and through. 

                 Good lord what a long drive will do, all its pleasantness and promises and weeds, purple

weeds and green ones all flowing on, but thin as milk. Milk dresses, the heavy cream in French pressed

coffee. Small pieces of paper stuffed in harsh old screen doors say, "While in Pennsylvania I Will Miss",

               (a reference to a simlilar note, left for a similar person, from a not so similar man),

not knowing why it reminds you of some summer at a beach, of soft morning hair and roughing faces,

the green film that crusts inside my eyes and the fingers that clean them out again.

II.   12/2005

THE REALIZATION I feared death came on me one night when we were in our Harlem bed, our chests 

on fire. We were loaded on cocaine that mixed badly with the wine we drank earlier, in the park with 

friends, on one of those New York Spring afternoons where not one person in the city cares about 

anything other than the being outdoors. Beside me, Hock trembled deep into himself and moaned, and 

talked about dying like it was something that was supposed to happen by morning. He thought it was. I 

was convinced of it as well. I watched him, waited for his breathing to stop, which it didn't, even when he 

told me it had.

         "Are you afraid something's really wrong with you?" I asked, "Should I maybe do something?" But 

he wouldn't speak to that, only squirmed away from my hands, which were cold, and wet, and fearful. 

In those moments, he was some sort of rabbit in a snare, too frightened to fix the situation, only wriggling 

more and more until he most certainly would never get himself out. Too much cocaine! Oh, we'd been 

fearless, licking the last of it off the newsprint when we'd run out, laughing with the others while dialing a 

phone number for some more, forgiving ourselves lost rent dollars and lighting more cigarettes. How 

fancy we are, we thought, living a careless life in a moving city that seems, all the time, at the center of 

everything. How important we must have been feeling, so fast and complicated. We were loaded up all 

day. We ate strawberries dipped in blow. We were invincible. 

         I was so moved by his body in that bed, how vulnerable he'd become. An hour before he'd been 

playing the harmonica like a monster, tearing it up like it was his job, singing the blues in the street. Now 

we were both sweaty, about to die, ready to die, and I had come to know that I was unprepared. 

Touching his back (moist and translucent), I shut my eyes hard and tried to imagine my heart stopping. 

My arms twitched, pressuring me toward the bedroom door, toward the bathroom, the ceramic tiles in 

there that might cool me down. But what help could a bathroom be when one is about to die? I pressed 

myself further into his back, apologized to my family in a desperate silence. If we wake up, as usual, to 

the trombone player who lived above us, to Maria across the courtyard shouting at her teenage son to rise 

out of bed, to La Guardia's landing airplanes and the everyday sunlight, laying itself across us in it's usual 

way - if we should experience these things again, I think, I will never falter, will betray all recreation in a 

trade for the beautiful things in life. I will quit smoking cigarettes. I will never do anything ever again. 

Too much! Too, too much cocaine. This was my reckoning. Hock kept saying he was sure his breathing 

was slowing, stopping completely. His heart, he murmured, was about to bleed out, or dry up. "I'm about 

to die," he said. "Oh God," he said, "I can't believe it, I'm really about to die."

        I asked him if, like me, he was also afraid, and he told me to go to hell. What else was I supposed to 

think about?