Monday, October 3, 2011

The Sound Of Noise

A fan’s hum, microwave beep
Whistle blow, skitter-scatter of four furry feet

Muffled voices through a wall
Lustful lovers shagging in a stall

Street sweepers, beeping trucks
Children’s games gone amuck

Clink-clank of dropping weights
Soapbox extremists preaching hate

Turning stiles, train track clacks
Automated prompts, microphone feedback

Barking dogs at the run
Timer ping, massage all done

Construction workers’ catcalls
Belligerent drunks in bar brawls

Screaming protesters on the street
A breaking cab’s halting screech

All these sounds I avoid
By streaming my own melodious MP3 noise


Friday, September 30, 2011

Thanks To Mom

Thrice my mom has come to me
To nurse me back from surgery

For a knee, a back, and fractured foot
To city streets she took

Picking up meds, food, and a treat or two
To lift me out of recovery blues

Watching movie marathons together in bed
‘Til the effect of painkillers knocked me out dead

Forced to shower on a chair
My head in the sink to wash my hair

She stood by my side along busy streets
To offer her hand when I felt weak

None of these tasks were ever too much
To yield a complaint, objection, or fuss

Not every mother is as caring and strong
But, lucky for me, this is my mom!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Lost Smile

Has anyone seen her smile?
It’s quite contagious, spreading all around Manhattan isle

Normally, it’s difficult to miss
Like sunshine illuminating the darkest abyss

I last saw it peak cheek-to-cheek on a brisk spring day
Radiating across her face when he looked her way

Its warmth penetrating her admirer’s core
But since that day it’s been seen no more

What a pity if it’s gone for good
Fallen to the ground and left where he stood.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Walk a Mile

If you walked a mile in my shoes,
Which pair would you choose
What streets would you cruise?

If you walked a mile in my shoes,
Would you feel the fatigue of years of city walking
Or have the stamina to take a pair of sneakers jogging?

If you walked a mile in my shoes,
Would you slide into designer heels
And saunter past velvet ropes to posh events and Michelin three star meals?

If you walked a mile in my shoes,
Would you cross the streets with purpose and speed,
Shunning the sluggard, begging out of hunger and need?

If you walked a mile in my shoes,
Would you stumble on uneven ground
And gather yourself after you went down?

If you walked a mile in my shoes,
Would you pause to pick up that shiny, new penny
And wish for the same thing that eludes so many?

Because if you walked a mile in my shoes,
You’d know the dream does not come easy
In this brutally competitive, cutthroat city.


Thursday, September 22, 2011


Siblings on a subway
Giggling and gabbing aloud
In fake Long Island accents
Strangers try to figure out

Up all night bonding
Watching Buffalo ‘66
Vincent Gallo sporting tight, red pants
Spanning time in photo booth pics

Madge’s Confessions at the Garden
Hitting clubs ‘til 4AM
Gallivanting around downtown
Indulging our every whim

Waiting in line for Magnolia cupcakes
Eating more butter cream than we can bear
All of these Manhattan experiences
Something only my sister and I share

Friends forever, cohorts in crime
In any city, any time.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

City Pests

How doth the big, black rat
Improve his healthy gut?
By scavenging food around the flat
From fuzzy cheese to rotten nut!

How craftily he sculpts his nest
How noisily he spreads the trash
And cares not about the mess
Only munching his scrappy stash!


How doth the slow, gray pigeon
Improve his mating luck?
By approaching tails most forbidden
With an odd and awkward strut!

How rarely he preens his feathers
How lazily he spreads his wings
And in any kind of weather
An awful cooing is how he sings!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

My South Stars

In a city foreign to me
you were my guide
as I emerged from a mind boggling mass transit maze
two towering beacons of comfort
shooting solidly into the Gotham skyline
my shining South Stars
navigating me around these city streets.

Then one severely clear Tuesday morning in September
when not a blemish touched the sky
I stared dumbstruck down Seventh Avenue
where hours earlier you were bathed in a sea of blue
now plumes of ominous smoke surrounded and erased you
leaving behind cinder covered remains
and a lingering smell of death that crept north
suspended over the city for days.

Eight million silenced
unsettling in a city that never sleeps
streets left desolate
except for the faces of the missing masses
wallpapering hospitals,  churches,  police precincts,  and firehouses
a traumatic trail of tears
their images haunting
forever seared in my memory.

I wandered aimlessly
guided by the urgent call of sirens from fire trucks and ambulances
the only sound that filled the air
but my journey was cut short at Canal
yellow police tape and security posts erected there
rescue crews mounting mounds of rubble
your powerful fa├žade disintegrated
except for a single steel beam rising out of the ashes.

Days and weeks passed
now, ten years have gone by
that bearded man was shot down in the Pakistan sand
and I am drawn to a new light in the sky
where I can stand in your footprints reflecting on you and say
you gave me courage to stay.


Friday, September 9, 2011

A Letter To Irene


The busiest global center cleared its calendar for you
Shutting down mass transit systems in your path
Weather bulletins posted and your presence boasted
For days the world awaited your wrath

Touted more than the week’s seismic hiccup
A phenomenon of epic scale
Lines wrapped blocks for food and water
In case electricity failed

Evacuations carried out along coastlines
To escape surges of flooding waves
Windows boarded and sandbags stacked high
Ensuring homes and lives stayed safe

But, alas, during those climatic hours
All you delivered were gusty breezes and light showers.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

How To Hang Like a Hipster

Traveling into Williamsburg
All aboard the “L”
Are hipster teens in skinny jeans
Their vintage Converse are telltale

Indulging creative aspirations
Bret plays in a rock ‘n’ roll folk band
They just scored their first gig last night
Mel makes art with her feet and hands

If you hope to catch glimpse of them
No snooty wine bars for this crew
They play pinball in beer gardens
While chugging mugs of local brews

They buy organic at green markets
Attend prestigious schools
And pay rent with Daddy’s money
‘Cause real jobs are so old school

I’ll offer this bit of advice to you
If you’re looking to make the hipster cut
Don’t wash your hair or shave your face
Instead grow some scruff and a small gut


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Dormitory Security Guard

The dormitory security guard is a Jamaican woman
With a plump, middle-age figure and stoic stare.
She seldom smiles at the students she’s hired to protect
Simply watching them come and go, checking their ID tags
And only speaking when prompted in a Jamaican jive
That’s thick with accent and difficult to understand.
Taken for granted and unappreciated by residents,
She works a thankless, but necessary job.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Crust Punks

The East Village crust punks and their furry, four-legged friends
Hug city streets in a drug induced sleep
Like infants clinging to their slatternly mother
For she is indeed the one who sternly schools and scolds them
This cockroach clan of delinquents
Spreading beyond the green gates and benches of Tompkins Square Park
Contaminating the community, remaining under foot of pristine professionals
Until gentrification squashes them from sight.


Monday, August 29, 2011

A Steampunk Orange

My rassoodock relentlessly revolving
 like the                           greased
  and                                  gleaming
                                          golden gears
   of a                                 steampunk clock,
                                        incessantly grinding
               in         a race

     spinning out fresh
ideas                until finally
one,                  fragile,

                                               my thoughts













Sunday, August 21, 2011

Coney Island

Time for an adventure
Hop aboard the “D”
Out to Coney Island for a $2.25 fee
Where treats and freaks await us
Famous Nathan’s hotdogs are a must
Load ‘em up with chili and cheese
Warm funnel cakes and spun cotton candy, yes please!

Take a stroll along the boardwalk
Play a game, win a prize
Lose your voice on a wild ride
There’s the wooden Cyclone coaster or colossal Wonder Wheel
Just be careful with the mounts and plunges you don’t revisit your last meal
Bang it up in bumper cars or Slingshot through the air
Plunge into the depths of Hell Hole, but only if you dare

Brighton Beach is buzzing with unnatural surprises
Bizarre bearded ladies, sword swallowers, and more
All await at the wacky world known as the Sideshow By the Seashore
Amusements are aplenty, they can last all day
Those who leave too early will wish they would have stayed
‘Cause curiosities continue to unveil long after dark
Like emerging creatures from the sea creeping into Luna Park


Friday, August 12, 2011

Nurse Bettie

Enter with a password
Let it slide off your lips
Saddle up to the bar
Loosen up with a few sips
Of a signature cocktail
Like a Night Nurse or Bettie Blue
Get comfortable
Show starts in just a few
On stage, Gal Friday and Calamity Chang
Two bewitching babes of burlesque
Don’t step outside for a cigarette
You won’t want to miss what’s next
An intimate performance
With flirty flutters of the lash
A glove pull and stocking tug
Just a peek-a-boo of flesh
To seduce, tease, and tantalize your eyes
Fanned feathers hide what’s underneath
But once the layers peel away
You’ll rise out of your seat
Tassel twirls and booty shakes
Leave you wanting even more
See you again next week
When a new set of salacious surprises are in store!


Monday, August 8, 2011

The Korean Women

The Korean women
working in nail salons
spend all day sitting
hunched over idle, pampered hands
their steady, tired hands busy
trimming, filing, buffing, gluing, wrapping, air brushing, moisturizing, painting
one nail after another
customer after customer
hour after hour
all the while
mumbling secrets to fellow workers
smiling at customers
waiting for a tip


Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Vagrant

The vagrant sleeping on church steps
Seeks holy shelter from the unrelenting elements that scold him for his sins
Sins that lay exposed not only to God but to the world around him
For he possesses no sanctuary in which to hide his misfortunes and wrongdoings
Forced to make his bed atop trash and cold concrete
He curls up and finds solace hidden in a brown paper bag.


Saturday, August 6, 2011


I’ve lived in a flat on Avenue A
With many strangers from faraway lands
Some of them were straight, lesbian, or gay
One worked in casting and one managed bands

We’d crawl the East Village ‘til early dawn
Sit at swank bars like Affaire and Verlaine
Drinking green fairies ‘til the green was gone
Not ending the night before morning came

Our fuddled feet stumbled down city streets
5A for snogging or 7A for food
Alive all night – this city never sleeps
Which fun to partake depends on the mood

Some journeys ended, some still flourish on
Memories will live here long after we’re gone.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Border Patrol

Windows down, music off
Passports out
Get ready to talk.

Step inside for questioning
We need to search the car
What do you do?  How did you meet?
Quite a tale, most bizarre.

A PhD in German history
A trainer from the Midwest
In a rental car with Virginia plates
Anything you’d like to confess?

Perhaps your love or illegal drugs?
Do it now for this report
She bats her eyes and says flat out,
“I’m from New York, New York.”

On her face a cheeky grin and stare
Quite a challenging expression
And so he dismisses them
With this smug confession.


Sunday, July 31, 2011


Get up!  Get up!
It’s time to brunch
Get dressed so we’re not late
That scrumptious meal ‘tween breakfast and lunch
Every Sunday it’s a date

Hurry up!  Hurry up!
Pull yourself out of bed
Too much partying the night before
Not to worry ‘cause you’re about to be fed
If we can get you out the door

Sign up!  Sign up!
It’s a two-hour wait
At Clinton Street Baking or Prune
No time to waste; it’s already late
Lines grow longer after noon

Order up!  Order up!
Organic eggs served sundry ways
Are you craving sweet or savory?
Stuffed challah bread or rich Hollandaise
Biscuits dripping in delicious gravy

Drink up!  Drink up!
Bloody Marys all around
Garnished with olives stacked on a stick
Be careful as the first sip goes down
It’s a cocktail with a kick

Eat up!  Eat up!
Binging is so easy to do
Leave not one morsel on your plate
Excuse me, I need to visit the loo
Sick from this gluttonous state


Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Ass to grass
Don’t stop!
Jumping jack
Box hop
Face flushed
Squat 'n' pop
Feeling faint
Take a sip
Deep breath
Let it out
Tighten, tone
Body ripped


Monday, July 25, 2011

Cranberry Isles Couriers

Mail boats come
Back and forth they carry
Not just letters
But people they ferry
Across frigid waters
Back and forth all day long
Work starting at dusk
Not ending ‘til dawn


Friday, July 22, 2011

Alphabet City Summer

Scorching summer heat
            beats down
producing rolling pearls of
                                             salty dew
    on sun kissed skin
            speckled brown and hot
asphalt reflects
            watery mirages
imaginary pools
                             of sweat
light summer dresses
            clinging to damp skin
like cheese
     on an Artichoke pizza pie
in this urban oven


Thursday, July 21, 2011


With his smile and wink good-bye
My eyes spill streams of salty dew;
Fair flesh streaks black
The hours are so few.

Thoughts jumbled and words mumbled
Our strides quick on Alphabet Street;
Fingers lock binding hand in hand
I stumble, knees weak.

And horns holler and sirens scream
As we hustle on our way;
Past brunching tables and cupcake carts
Oh how I want him to stay.

And horns holler and sirens scream
But not a word escapes my lips;
For a farewell with such uncertainty
Strains my heart until it rips.

With his smile and wink good-bye
I watch him descend into catacombs out of view;
Warm tears burst forth like summer rain showers
Oh how the hours and days flew.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Silent Heart

I lie with you on sandy shores
Together but still oceans apart;
Our bare feet submerged in warm mounds of sand
I stifle my tormented heart.

As our bodies bask in that bright, shiny sun
Thoughts linger through cool mists of ocean air;
Will you wait for me I wonder longingly
But these words spoken I would not dare.

And hours pass and waves crash
Your heart hitting my ear like a beating drum;
Children scamper by with buckets of sand
Off to a new adventure they run.

And hours pass and waves crash
My insides silently screaming;
The calm, warm smile spread across your face
Knows not what my aching heart is pleading.

I lie with you on sandy shores
Together but still oceans apart;
Hoping the day will come soon
When I no longer silence my heart.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Wash away the pain
that ebbs and flows inside me.
Pummel down on the hurt
that refuses to go.
Cleanse the sadness
that infects and binds me.
So that when you pass,
I will again bloom and grow.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Bed Invasion

Itchy, scratchy, pesky mites
Raiding Gotham overnight
Clinging tight to clothes and sheets
Leave old furniture in the street
‘Cause these itty-bitty biting bugs
Hide deep down in fabric and rugs
Waiting for nighttime feeding to begin
When they suck life from warm-blooded skin


Friday, July 15, 2011

The Seductress

I lie in bed, my body naked and flushed. The open window providing no relief from the sweltering summer heat. My mind empties, allowing the sounds from the street below to invade my consciousness. The blaring of incessant horns and impatient sirens assault my senses, putting my nerves on end. I toss and turn trying to escape the city’s clutch, but I’m only drawn further into its mania as a quarrel erupts between lovers. Their malign and scolding words echoing off building walls, entering my chamber, my sanctuary that no longer feels sacred, but dirty, covered with the smut and grime of the city. Dirty like the bum sleeping on the steps of Penn Station who reeks of inexpensive ale and self-defecation. Dirty like the cheap whore on the corner of Eleventh Avenue and Forty-Second Street who sells her soul to fulfill the carnal addiction of a stranger. Dirty like the dilapidated drug dens in Alphabet City that crawl with roach and vermin infestations.

Utter abhorrence.

Overcome with disgust, I cover my exposed skin, shielding it from the sins of the city. But, my flesh cries out to the temptress, freeing itself from the suffocating bondage of the blankets, unmasking its desire to mingle with the night life, revealing its yearning for the scandal and forbidden excitement contained on this enchanted island. So, I surrender myself to her mystifying madness like a tormented slave surrendering to her master. I surrender to her beauty, her charm, her exotic pleasures and promises of freedom. I surrender to all of her seductive whispers, and, suddenly, my mind is at ease. The cacophony outside my window no longer resembles a clamor of confusion, but the hum of life, pulsing through her veins, carrying on her spirit. And, with this revelation, she lets me sleep.

Sweet serenity.

~ kfu