Monday, August 29, 2011

The Longfellow Bridge Diaries: Part 2

He canvases himself with small treasures excavated over time. They sway from his hips: the torn knapsack, the corners of the pushcart with which he struggles, its wobbly wheel jerking to and fro on the cracked walkway of the Longfellow.

He hoards them underneath the asphalt where urban artwork is for your eyes only and the weight of a voice can echo for days. He places them carefully at home in corners of darkness, under the bridge.


Friday, August 26, 2011

The Longfellow Bridge Diaries: Part 1

Her sundress hovered around her legs, dancing in a light breeze with the discarded newspaper's obituary and coupon sections. Her strong, defined, calves flashed in snapshots under the swell of the dresses waving motion, showing glimpses of purpose in her stride.
She met him right there in the middle of bridge. It was high above the water where she watched two seagulls share the tips of the bridges piles, where she wasn’t sure if she was in Boston or Cambridge, where she kissed him on the cheek.
Her eyes met the black water of the Charles, as he spoke, her hands the rough railing that separated the real world from an imaginary one. The blue floral patterns rose up her shoulder, along with a shiver, as he held her arm and made broken record promises for the second, third, fourth time.
That moment, an onlooker would see her softening and dare to dream whether she was coming or if she going?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Christ’s Fingertips

The couch, where I sit
sucks me in

a deep breath
holding my stillness
with soft teeth

bound in ropes of a suit and tie
and a make believe phobia

there is no creaking
of a settling house
just a muted hum on the television

no blinking beams of light
through closed and broken blinds

I fear I will forget
to breathe
as you have

every detail in the ceiling
lashes out for attention

I see them all
I pay attention
to none

they could be barefoot bastard children
for somebody else to clothe

or the famished homeless
for somebody else to feed

all but the spider are there for me
one who knows nothing of reason

bad days with an open wound
refusing to close
meaningless, but vigilant

on my ceiling
I study for a purpose in his random path

and I wonder if I knew him
in another world
as a person

a human being
less than an insect

in this moment
I forget you
our memories transparent

like windows
I look through to see other things

there is no noise in the background
of the room or in my mind
but then

I feel the card
in my pocket

and Christ’s fingertips place
each letter of your name
in my head

and I hear things

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Cracked Sidewalk of Kentucky

One summer night, as I walked alone
down the cracked sidewalk of Kentucky
underneath a canopy of maples
where the moonlight fell
through branches
and lit my path with uneven lines

I wondered

where does the residue of lust and desire go
when everything you want to hear
has been said

(This was the very first poem I ever wrote. I workshopped it in my Poetry class at The Unversity of Pittsburgh... I haven't touched it since. It's time to sharpen my pencil.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Objects for the Sun God

and she ran away
with a violence
stabbing at her knees and feet

dissolving into the wetness  
of winter air

her face, now
only a 3x4 snapshot
lost in a sea
of other imprisoned moments
on a living room floor
I can move the thin
flat pile; searching
but all that is left is
a memory of soft blue eyes
a medicine that won't heal.

this one was abandoned
a splinter
left under the skin
pushed out by protective flesh
over time…
over pain and infection

it peels apart
and shows off the insides
a place where secrets
are stored; protected
away from idol hands
in the back pocket
of frayed blue jeans
and a forgetful mind

in here,
past drawn curtains,
and stain-glass windows,
she can see me
on my island of the past
holding each picture
up to the light
like an offering
objects for the Sun God

“not this one”
“nor this one”

it's the one
with her arm
around my neck
our two wild smiles
and the statue
of Nike
in the background
headless and
wings spread out


reversed back to blackness
and I remain the madman
of images; of a face
ten years younger
than it was

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


In 1987, I wanted to play in the creek,
catching frogs and wishing the darkness would wait another hour.
I wanted to keep a jar of lightning bugs by my bedside,
and name each one after cartoon characters.

In 1987, I wanted Tammy to be my friend,
I wanted to be important to somebody;
find a way to burst the soundless bubble that caged me
away from parents too young to see their recklessness.

In 1987, an Irish band sang With or Without you
and I wanted to know what love felt like.
I dreamed of beautiful girlfriends I would never make my wife,
because in 1987, I was too afraid to be kissed.

In 1987, I wanted to go to county fairs
instead of hospital waiting rooms.
I wanted to watch, for as long as I could,
until my innocence, like balloons, disappeared from view.

I wanted to believe in a Heaven
where I would never say goodbye to anyone,
never again watch ailing flesh
turn cold and gray.

In 1987, I wanted her to beat cancer.
I wanted to know my grandmother
better than an 11 year old could.
In 1987, I wanted it to be 1986.

(In Loving Memory of Jean "Nanny" Salley)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Moon and Sixpence

"I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not. They are strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they have played, remain but a place of passage. They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search for something permanent, to which they may attach themselves. Perhaps some deep-rooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history. Sometimes a man hits upon a place to wchich he mysteriously feels that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth. Here at last he finds rest."
W. Somerset Maugham

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


She once lived
at 1418 Hamilton Avenue
in Hamilton, New Jersey.
It was on the first floor
where rain fell
the time I was there.

And I watched,
from a bed with no sheets,
the curtains dancing
in the window
as her begging morphed
into a regretful whisper.

She wrote the letter
a year later,
from the steps
outside her door,
not to tell me
she was engaged,
or to tell me
she was moving away forever,

but to tell me
she loved me
just so
on that rainy night.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

San Diego ComicCon 2011

Since I was in the 4th grade, I was swallowed up by the imaginary world of super heroes and science fiction. I would continuously nag my mother to take me to the local comic book shop to purchase the latest Wolverine and Amazing Spiderman comics. My father would let me skip school so he could take me to the premiere of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, where I discovered him. Boba Fett. The most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy.

Now, at the age of 35, that little boy shines out in my soul when I see him, stalking, always silent, through the crowd. I ask him if I can take a picture with him, still no words, he nods and I get my new Facebook profile picture.

Thank you ComicCon for making this 35 year old man feel like a kid, again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Recently Published on Dark Chaos: Polyster Purgatory

Blogging is the new form of publishing your work and getting it out in the public eye, so I'm proud to write that I had another piece of work published on one.  Dark Chaos is literary blog for writers and artists who only come out at night.

My work can be read at


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Standing Still

Once in a while, on random days, when my mind catches up with me, I think of you. In soft silk fabrics, white with a fresh clean scent, you twirl in a breeze that shows darker skin underneath. I remember your lips, how gentle you kissed for the first time.

I smile, racing to keep pace with the thought. I run, sprinting, neck and neck with it for just a moment longer, until it catches the wind and leaves me behind, waiting for it to come back around again.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Death Along the Jersey Rails

by Robert Salley

Nobody falls in love near train tracks
It's dark... it's where animals go to die
and teenagers go to fuck awkwardly
in the middle of the night.

Trees decompose more rapidly
surrounded by gaunt bushes and
naked to eyes on billboards
selling real estate and promoting radio stations.

They're doused in cigarette butts and used condoms
like old discarded snake skin
dry and coarse after the bite
immortally tortured by broken glass bottles.

Tattered with wayfarers walking along these rails
footprints planted long before the rust settled in
and faded images of a childhood
or mother's arms that could hide a shameful memory.

Filthy windows show an infomercial
of defeated towns racing by
with chain-link fences and taverns
to keep the locals from escaping.

Their heads angled with regrets
of wasted time they let slip away
and the wasted encounters with saviors
somewhere between New York and Trenton.
“Only when you come to the end and leap out into the darkness will you discover that you have wings to fly”