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Charlie Schneider 

Brooklyn in June


Praise the music ending 

the silence of Irving Square Park


and the cardinal’s throat burning

unheard songs. 


Praise the hand hauling a body

like these two corgis dragging


a noon-drunk man; hurry, 

they say, we don’t have time—


praise the man, the blue ache 

up there conceiving nothing 


but more blue, the kids running

from playground to scent


of honeysuckles, praise them, 

all, and the bloom of silence.



Stone Prayer


Stone in my body, break open— 

                               reveal more stone, even,

                                            but remember


parties of men in boots and shorts gone underground,

                             to neon, rude glares, and thump of bass 

                                            like a city 

and a heartbeat,

                             remember their faces: stubbled, chiseled, impish

                                                           caring, bored of the world’s cruel


                                                                          sink with them. 


Go to the killing pressures, knock 

                                            against tibias, ribcages, and skulls

                                            where ground becomes water,

stone; go to the vents in the trenches

                               so hot they trouble what a man is,

                               and melt there, and cover me in warmth. 



Death Poem


My thirst only continues 

into a bed-bound man asking for water 


as a radio plays salsa too softly, 

and for someone else. 


His hand, almost drained of heartbeats, 

once undressed the moon.


Now it can’t grasp an ice chip— 

I place one in his mouth.


Even past the end he’ll suck pebbles

and pray for rain, and it won’t end,


that prayer, not even when I beg. 

Not even when I sleep. 

Charlie Schneider is a writer and Zen Buddhist chaplain living in Brooklyn.

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