David Aaron Greenberg



Some variants of these poems have appeared in Feeling Gravity’s Pull (Soft Skull Press, 1995), Crowd Paintings (Gallery Lars Bohman, 1998) and in Long Shot (Volume 16). “After Rumi” was published as part of a limited edition lithograph Thistle 1999 by Donald Baechler to benefit the Poetry Project.


Cover: “David, East Village, NYC” 1995 by Vincent Cianni




I don’t have

a thought in my head

that’s not about you

And you don’t think

twice about me




It’s a crime

to look too long

in some parts

pretty ones can turn

so suddenly—

a rodent

trapped in a corner

at any minute

is liable

to seethe back


delicate lips

camouflage fangs


Paper Moon


He sniffs the crystal meth.

Up his pink pug nose

Sucks on a cloudy

crack pipe

Or shoots some junk

into his delicate green veins


Tugging on his shirtsleeves

Impatiently awaiting a rush

He curiously inspects

The pieced skin


I’ve always been fascinated

With that little gap

Between bicep and forearm

The underside

well defined in tight boys

almost transparent

in slight ones


Now I’m drawn

To the tiny prick

In it—

The gentle blue wound


He pretends to live

an impoverished bohemian life

with his uncombed hair

and torn pants

asleep on the floor

in his parents’

Central Park West apartment


Blinds pulled

To shield his eyes

From the bright

And high-priced view


The Perfect Childhood


He was twelve

When his father died

Drunk on a motorcycle

Just outside Philly


He started smoking pot

Underneath the bleachers

After football practice

Got his first girl pregnant

And paid for the abortion

With money he stole

From the register at 7-11


He borrowed a car on acid

And they ain’t seen him since


The old projector

In that run down movie house

Has been replaced by a Cineplex

The woods out back

Behind the neighbors’ fence

A strip mall now


His Mom has kept his room

Exactly as she found it

The night she realized

He was never coming back


A Led Zeppelin poster

On the corkboard

And one of Jimi too

Dirty white briefs piled up

In the corner by the stereo


And tonight

As he fingers some old guy

In the Days Inn off Times Square

For enough cash to last

A half a day

There’s a place set for him

At the table in a trailer park

Just outside Philly

As it has been every night

For the last two years


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