Parallel Parking Olympics (a poem)

If there was ever a Parallel Parking Olympics

it’d be in South Philly

cars jam into microscopic spots

enough to cause anxiety

but you, with your back-up camera

squeeze in like it’s no big deal

this shit is real!

parking spots are like gold

circle the block like a vulture

starving, on the prowl

maybe you’ll get lucky

find a spot front-and-center

(Photo by Cali Riffee on Unsplash)

City of Dogs (a short story)

Cindy parked her work truck in the shade by a McDonald’s and took a big bite out of her Quarter Pounder. Her lunch breaks were always interrupted by phone calls — the endless calls from dispatchers. Today was no different.

When her phone rang, she turned down the Brad Paisely song on her radio.

 “Hey, sunshine,” said Marcus, the dispatcher. “Feel like catching any more dogs today?”

It wasn’t the call Cindy wanted to get. But at least it wasn’t the call, the one she constantly feared getting.

Continue reading

Infiltrating the Network (a poem)

Who is behind the curtain?

Is Portia a super-intelligent AI autocrat –

or is there a murkier figure behind her avatar

hidden in dank data centers of Techno-City?

Continue reading

The Neighbor’s Vegetables (a poem)

The neighbor talks to me as she tends her vegetable garden –

she talks at me is more like it; I hardly get a word in, you see.

She says, “All Lives Matter;” I bite my tongue,

let her ramble, not knowing what’s bouncing in that brain.

Continue reading

New Facts (a prose poem)

History is collective memory, and it’s always subject to correction.

It’s written by winners, whether daughters of despots or democrats. They build bronze statues that inform us of what happened, who’s calling the shots, who owns the space you occupy.

As the city convulses, an ex-mayor’s monument is fractured, beat to the ground. Our historical texts must be rewritten, newspaper editors must be removed, the revolution must be televised and live streamed to your social media feeds, and you must forget what you’ve learned because

there are new facts.

(Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash)

Ten-Dollar Bill (a poem)

The woman asks me for ten dollars – she demands it

I’m reluctant, standing in a pock-marked city,

but feeling pity for her, as she frantically talks

her eyes yellow like harvest moons

her voice shrieks like an urban banshee –

the realities of poverty and addiction,

the rich getting fatter off broken backs.

I reach into my wallet, hand her a ten-dollar bill

she hugs me + hurries away, vanishing into the night,

and as I walk home, I wonder if I’ll ever need to

ask for my ten dollars back

(Photo by Vitaly Taranov on Unsplash)

I Love my City (a poem)

I love my city, the city of Philadelphia

I grew up outside your limits, near you in the ‘burbs

amazed by your skyscrapers, watching from

grandma’s steps in the shadow of St. Monica’s –

you aren’t always pretty, but you’re a city

with pride and spunk, attitude and funk,

the engine of our region with a legion of fans –

behind the cheesesteaks and Rocky Balboa,

we know how much heart you have and

even if we speak rough and act tough,

underneath this grime and slime,

you have a whole lotta love inside.

(Photo of a mural in Philly from the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance)

Keeping the Faith (a poem)

Garbage piles up on street corners, you can smell it

everywhere you go – a trash crisis, another effect

of the pandemic, giving the town an apocalyptic feel

as we deal with a failing economy, killer virus,

foreboding sense that we’re plunging into an abyss –

but excuse me, miss, we’re resilient, us humans,

even if rubbish surrounds us and the president astounds us,

we find a way to keep the faith.

(Photo by chris liu on Unsplash)

In the Shadows of the Techno-City (a poem)

We hide, strategize in the shadows of

the Techno-City, away from Portia’s

prying eyes – don’t worry, you’re safe here

from the tyranny of technology.

Continue reading

Soul Snatcher

The soul-snatcher glared at me from the dusty street corner with fiery orange eyes, his hands cupped over his mouth because of the early morning cold.

I had been out late that night, and I was returning home a little tipsy.

“Hello there,” he said. “Looking for your fix?”

Continue reading