Brooklyn in June
Praise the music ending
the silence of Irving Square Park
and the cardinal’s throat burning
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 in my body, break open—
reveal more stone, even,
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.
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.