Being A Mangiaforte Was Always The Best

Doooo do do do do doooo do doo do do do

Doooo do do do do doooo do doo do do do


That’s the start of Day Tripper

And there were days we ended every day with it,

My father as old as my childless guy friends

Plucking out the chords as his own fab four

–Hilly and Patrick and Chrissy and Laur–

Rolled and skipped on the family room floor.


Unlike the song, it didn’t take long to find out.



Transfer Is Available

Truth be told,

I prefer the smooth-chic bounces of the

Paris metro.

But there’s no better place for people watching

Than the jarring, mechanical underground

that rattles through Manhattan,

Where at the moment I am pressed

Between two old ladies who are fat

in their Park Avenue furs.

We three sit across from the business-suit-man

and his shiny maroon shoes,

maybe the only rebellions he approves.

There’s the guy in the painter’s clothes

Who listens to Alicia Keys,

and the pregnant teenager

who tells her boyfriend she wants the kid

to be called Lew-is Vuitton.

And I think

To each his own.

A friend tells me that most people

Would freak out more about almost

Having died all those times

Than about losing you once.


Sometimes, I think she’s right.


And other times I come home

After a fun night with people I like

And read the Wikipedia article on


Mine Me I

I’ve been spared, at least, from shuffling down North Street,

which runs between the sea-battered buildings where we

ate too much cake and gorged on what there was in one another

in the most loving way possible. And I don’t sleep on the squeak

in the mattress in Limburg or on Nassau-what’sit Strasse. My hand

doesn’t fall on its side to feel if you’re there in the big bed I

bought myself, thank you very much.


You’ve never been in my bed or on my Avenue and it’s the truth

that that’s the way I prefer it.

Humans Are Stupid

“He wanted the story and he wanted it to come out his way. He couldn’t stand to have it come out any other way.”

-East  of Eden, John Steinbeck

If there’s one thing we must have in common,

Stranger on the Subway and Baby in the Park,

Lady Lying by the Lake and Ticket Taker at the Gate,

it’s how we love what’s worst for us. Either that,

or our godlike way of thinking we know best –

which is kind of the same.


Holy, holy what:

If we’re made of mud or not, it’s stubborn stuff

and I for one haven’t figured how to rub it off.


So who knows the plot of her life? Share it with me.

We’ll work backwards, everyone, and deduce from that

what’s going to come: whether the stranger’s mother

has cancer; whether the baby becomes a killer;

if the lady heads home to her husband; if the ticket taker

sees the man on the tracks too late.


Or wouldn’t you rather

not know?

My Next Wedding Dress

The last dress didn’t have the room to groove to Fleetwood Mac, let alone Outkast.

And who wants to be wed in a gown that can’t have fun like that?

It would’ve been a disaster, no less a mess than the wasted white lace

That was meant to taper down my ass like the veil of a saint.


remind me next time

that I’m not the cup of cream we all wanted her to be.

White’s decidedly an abomination

when it comes to me

I’m happily black-spotted

as a purebred dalmatian.


The Firebird

I’ll know it’s meant to be when

he hears the suite and thinks

of me, and my rising like the spring.

Colors and ashes and all that

kind of thing. You want someone

who sees the death-defeat behind

your lashes if you have it, don’t you?


I’m no longer asking

for the composer.


I’m over that now. I’m older.

It’s the hearer I’m after.

I Will Move The Earth

“Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth.”

-Homer, The Illiad


It’s a love that needs long long

Train rides and snow shoes and wars.

One where you show up every two

years, unexpectedly over my shoulder until

you find yourself showing up there on purpose

on a daily basis.


Until you find your shoulder’s

favorite companion is my chin, especially in the

evening and not only below our city flat ceilng

but beneath those layers of stars in all those countries I didn’t

want to see alone.


It’s a love where there is no small talk.

We have soul things to tend, and from them

conversations that don’t ever end, not even

after death because you’ve written it and so have I.


I want our letters to each other

to make our granddaughters cry.


Every Evening Never Even

Most days, they aren’t there at all. They leave me to myself (and when you think — isn’t that a funny phrase?) But other days, they all come at once. Him, and the two, three: bearing chairs from the side of an empty room and slowly, gently, pulling them to the center in front of me. We face each other, silently. Sometimes, we can sit comfortably.
Sometimes, even, the Tiergarten grows up around us. The trees crackle and fight right up through the floor. It’s the dirt, the earth, the old-living flesh and blood–Fleisch und Blud–that is under me all the time, ruminating beneath the tiles I’ve laid down deliberately above it. I’ve made a point, a fact, of patiently painstakingly laying them down even as they sit, and sit, and sit (die Drei, die Zeit) on the side of the memory.
Abendessen. Zusammen. Familien. 
Together at dinner as family, we are another word that ends with another “n.”
Sometimes I cry, because this is something that has already happened. It’s something that will never happen again, all of us listening to the evening news from the television with the TV tower hovering over the balcony through window.
I want to know: how do I make the Seine go? The high street in Scotland, the cafe in Positano? Or, returning, that one hot-hot string of summer nights in Berlin, spent in the back room of the flat with the picture of your young father looking like you, holding a cigarette? There are shelves, there, with all the family junk, the tchotchke not deemed chic enough for the living room. Do I sit like I a tape player on it, now? A shawl? Is that where my coffee mug has gone, too?
And is it another girl’s hand scratching out a poem at your mother’s sewing-table-of-a-desk? Does she observe the architect across the way, shutting off his light? Does she take the time to smile at your brothers dressed and framed as Indians on the long wall as she walks to a dinner of grüne Bohnen und Huhn?
Does the ease of a common mother tongue make her intimate friends with your mom? And does your father buy her a small book of poetry because she has had a difficult day?
When they call her daughter, Tochter, it’s not because they love her. It’s because you do.