Wherever I May Roam


I run to the chiaroscuro of the streets—
sunburned arms,
red and blistered,
a spiraling staircase,
leading me down a hall of mirrors,
where nothing’s what it seems,

where I’m told to run with sheers

escorted by a magician’s assistant
with radioactive fangs that bite,
wearing a black top hat and coat
with coattails that unfurl
into Hegel’s self-conscious night.

The deeper into the dungeon,
the more self-aware she becomes.
And the more self-aware,
the greater the chances for self-destruction—
the ultimate conundrum.

A strap hangs off her missing shoulder—
a pragmatic prostitute at a makeshift bordello
where there are no curfews,
rules or chores
only dark alleys and cardboard boxes
to claim and explore

dangerously close
to the sirens of familiarity
and other lost children
keeping warm by the fire
of their lost virginity

looking more-and-more
like the insatiable streets
they once longed for.

Why didn’t anyone tell me
it was going to be so dark
and dirty and lonely?—
this new life I’ve traded-in for
kudos like “that-a-boy!”
and a warm bed
and posters on my walls
and delicious memories
like themed birthday parties
and the crushed ice
in my favorite soft drink
I didn’t have to work for.

Running away—
Jonah’s ancient lure
of distraction.
A drum beat so deep inside me
I scratch where there’s no itch,
wiping ghostly tears off my cheek
as I howl at the moon
that mocks me
for being hormonal and insecure.

The penetration
of shards of broken glass
and broken dreams
remind me
of what I’ve seen
and where I’ve been
and what I’ve stood for.

So, what’s my next move?
Truthfully, I’m not sure.
And that’s the only fun thing
about running away—
spontaneously making my bed
where the call of the wild
tucks me in at night.
And that’s where I’ll be tonight.

I’ll tell you what I tell the po-po
who kick down my invisible door:

“Take me!
I’m my own worst enemy.
With talons for nails
I run my fingers
through my unkempt hair
that keep getting caught
in dreadlocks of despair.

“I try to forget
but the streets won’t let me.
They call me Siddhartha
to a beach city bodhi tree
that provides shade
for post-Covid savages like me.

“Instead of extinguishing desire,
I frolic in abandoned places
and sleep with the familiar faces
that’ve become my new home.

“I’ve let my life become so entangled
while I’ve willingly left behind
a toothbrush and a comb.

“I’ve forsaken an address
although the address hasn’t forsaken me.

“No matter how far I’ve run
a voice inside my head
soothes the loud chatter,
whispering my name ‘Gift of God’,
fused to the phrase ‘your life matters’,
chasing after me,
catching up to me—
wherever I may roam.”


The silence—a ceaseless chiseling. There’s a child screaming. I run to the window to look outside only to find the relentless tinkling of rain ricocheting off the top of metal cars.  I come back inside. I hear it again. This time I run out the front door not caring that my favorite shoes are getting…

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“All the world’s a stage” where we play different roles and parts, “men and women merely players” (Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II Scene VII, Lines 1-2). The stages of life (infancy, childhood, lover, soldier, judge, old age, and return to childhood “sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything,” line 28) are indeed…

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