Spring in Madison

When the spring-heavy clouds
hover their soggy bodies over this city,
the men who live on the length
of State Street flock to the coffeeshop across
from the mediterranean cafe to swap
cups of congealed coffee infused
with rainwater and flash their chip-tooth
no-toothed smiles.


Johnson at State

escaping the office at
2 am my
hands bloodied with lipstick
i am relieved to
hit the sidewalks: kept free
of trash but cluttered with trashed

a two story urban utopia

a strawberry blonde with
little curls around her ears
throws her legs in front of her as
though hoping they’ll hit the ground,
her shirt cut nearly in half,
like the warmth of sugary Svedka suddenly made
her sexy in her skin,
her stomach stiff against the claws of october in the

a shoe-less Latino man with
bags on his arms and
the rest of his belongings beneath his
shrieks in the street and
waves a hand that
seems to have forgotten some of its fingers.

the hunch backed man
inhabits his usual spot,
(one of the last remaining after the
city tried to bury the homeless still
mummified in their sleeping bags)
and reminds me
“the first joke is free,”

I wonder what he has
laugh about


snuggled into the parking lot
behind our old office building
killing ourselves with a shared smoke,
(i wonder where his lips have been)

a duo of homed hoodlums
we exchange unnecessary excuses for our
bad habits and
revel in the unpleasant nip
of gravel at our toes and
nostalgia at our brains

half a block down a nomadic cluster of
alcohol-laden corner people
flash lighters and
drum on a
broken wheelchair.