Daniel B. Silver



Courtyards and stairwells full of blood and urine
And the aftermath of a moment’s impulsive rage
The status-post of Night Train, and misgivings
Etches permanent specters of broken spectacles in places not often visited

Framed by a steady-scarlet burn
And backlit by grill strobes
Like a demon’s slide show or a harshly lit film noir

Floating above the mean concrete streets
The higher we go the less attached we are
And those moments that were so vivid, they fade when the new arrive
Like your partner’s face, lit by a stock Ford dome light

I’m too tired to read the street names
Navigating on instinct and blurred, glassy vision
Wailing through the streets, sirens bounce back from buildings and overpasses

Those sounds, smells, and sights crochet a kind of blanket
To smother tears and warm compensatory mechanisms
A down-counting clock, synchronized with my dwindling tolerance
For anything standing between me and home, or solace

Same poor, stupid crying bitch
Same poor, stupid dying bastard
Watch as they call out for help and push what’s there away

Patients pleading for absolution in their darkest hours
Ignoring the nearby, blue-clad lifelines
Would-be guardians with scowls and worn personalities
Soles caked with mud, and flaked red with blood

She wheezes then stops breathing
He seizes and his heart stops beating
Muscle memory and training dictate the next fourteen steps

During the long shower, once at home in quiet
The water rushing down from head, to body, to tile
You’d clean it all off, were you able to reach the real dirt inside
But were you able, you wouldn’t be here in the first place