I thought I was Li Po,

had moonwine midnight

feelin’ alright,

but my Mandarin was a nightmare

and all the trolleys stopped

at Harvard Sq. when it was still called

Peking, a long walk

down a dark hall, the door to out.


Oh, there was Jesse Colin

Young in the Fenway across

from the Gardner with its lost Rembrandt.

At the movies with Lara and Omar,

A Man and A Woman,

Juliet of the Spirits.

Is it any wonder then the grape jam

and Jif, the nasty PCP, horrific

spider plants, piano dances,

Mozart and endless drum solos.


You were gone in a flash, a screech of empty space.

Maybe a god hears the collisions, collusions

spontaneous combustions on the shy

trolley that speeds slow over the black

Charles living below.


That strap to hold on to,

the flat place to stand.

Everything looked obvious, solid

square like a windowpane, the street

outside melting like a Dali, this chair

from which there is no falling,

in the thinnest slit of morning.


Before ink, blood,

before blood, water, ochre

stick figures with spears

saying I love you in stone.

You were always somewhere.

I don’t know? Chicago?

Between us the wet

spot where I drew concentric

on your unrecognizable

abstract, Cubist, small, fantastic.


Michael Crowley

Michael Crowley is a retired English teacher living with his wife and cat in Cranston, RI.  His poems contain bits of twisted nostalgia for his past, using scattered reflections, half-finished expressions, allusions to pop culture, partly developed images and enough odd humor to avoid sentimentality.

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