As/Is







10.30.2017


Black Box


When Terry trooped down that staircase
into the bowels of the Theater Building,
on the fringes of North Halls, I noticed
he (it seemed) felt nothing. For me, it was like
a plunge into empty nothingness, some
infernal realm of inversions; several
times I almost fainted. The Black Box
theater space was always crowded on
those Thursday nights, not far from
midnight, where Terry reigned as secret
Outlaw Playwrights king- officious, daring,
beneficent or malign, as the mood took him;
& as Justine Caskey traipsed past me in the line,
vulpine teeth glistening in the fluorescence-









10.13.2017


To Happy Valley


The State College townie kids, bound
to Happy Valley, got their kicks where
they found them, gave off an air of
ennui shot with doom (human life
having granted them no escape valve),
yet were accommodating to me. On
what it means to look around a small
town, and know that it is everything to you,
encompasses all you are, Lords over you
confining curses: to trip with these kids was
to understand these limitations, the magic
& the agony. Lisa smirked, skinny in her boots,
hair cut short but for the one fringe over
her left eye, & passed me water for the E high-

Lisa- after twenty years, the bathroom,
you remember, in The Coffee Cellar,
was all black, with a wide mirror.
Stoned, I dragged you (sweet sixteen) in there
to see if I could kiss you, wrapped in
black leather pants; you banged in
two-inch-high boots, tawny hair-fringe
there, over your eye. I got the kiss; we ambled
out hand in hand; wound up back in
again. You made me vow to you
something I can't remember. How
townie girls talked- I'd nod, get lost.
But the womb-space was complete-
we were safe, ascendant into space, hopeless-









10.10.2017


Order & Discipline


So, you had me on your chopping
block that day; the City Hall court
yard blazed with summer heat. We
were over, that was it. You wanted,
you said, some order & discipline in
your life. Chinatown simmered under
our feet; I looked (futilely) for a GO
board; you bought some incense. You
turned quickly, I tried to kiss you; you
resisted; it was close. Two brains tried
to coalesce into one, about love & us.
Epochs passed; I've got order & discipline
right here, in these lines, Ruth. I trust
you understand. Much of the rest is dust.








10.09.2017


Abby Heller-Burnham: Philadelphia City Paper, 2005










10.08.2017


Adam Fieled: Conshohocken, Pa: September 2017










10.01.2017


Your Move (Heller-Burnham)