Poetry Lives at the Cloisters Diner

So much poetry that you’re inundated with in New York just sucks. I mean, it’s not really inventive or artful or even any of the things we traditionally judge poetry by, to say nothing of the fact that most people don’t have the foggiest idea how to appreciate good poetry on the rare occasions that they come across it.

Tonight, two seats down from me at the counter of the Cloisters diner, a woman was either having phone sex or talking someone out of suicide, I’m not sure which. I’d like to think both, maybe to two different people, one on the call waiting line.

When I was thirteen I started writing poetry, some of which involved suicidal fantasies.

Exercise: Write Something That Sucks

In dark repose, Vac bathes in a shower of shirttails. I’m awakened from my sofa-slumber by a muted coughing sound, almost mechanical. A thin cloud of dust escapes from under the closet door. From my supine position on the futon, I wait to see if the phenomenon repeats itself before I investigate further. I think I hear laughing, a sort of muffled mechanical giggle coming from the hallway.

Something is afoot. Vac apparently doesn’t know I am home, or doesn’t care. There is a familiar whir and bang. The closet door bursts open, and the Vac comes flying out, blindly ramming furniture, knocking over vases and lamps. It smashes the television and a computer monitor, all the while sucking up any small particles it finds in its path.

If Vac had hands, he would be wringing them to punctuate its hunched-over evil grin. Nature abhors a vacuum, but I did not know that the vacuum returned the spite with such vengeance. Suddenly, I understand why the cats are afraid.

Fighting Fantasies

I know a lot of people probably have fight fantasies, little daydreams where you take out all your aggressions on someone deserving. When I was a kid, it was a group of bullies from school. I set up pillows on my bed and punched and kicked them, acting out the entire scene. Later, I got a punching bag that I used up until I left home. My victims became more anonymous, groups of inner city gang members (which I knew about only through television) and other ominous criminals.

Of course, I also got into actual fights from time to time. These events typically lasted little more than a couple of minutes. Usually they got broken up before they really got started. Even so, they were awkward, ugly.

In my crime-fighting fantasies, fights are beautifully and meticulously choreographed, right down to my explanations to the cops afterwards. Although they sometimes involve a specific person with whom I’ve had a recent altercation, they usually involve random muggers and thugs you might run into late at night on the subway. Lately, I have not only fantasized about a fight, but I’ve added the power to hypnotize my nemeses into believing they are having a heart attack, have some late stage cancer, or have a broken arm or leg, thus avoiding the gymnastics of having to actually throw and avoid punches.


A story about life passing before one’s eyes when they are drowning. The drowning part isn’t given away until the end.

A story about a couple that tries all kinds of sexual experimentation and always end up either disgusted with themselves or injured.