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Susan Gerardi

Boys Dressed As Men

I am not done mourning

the boys dressed as men
in their charcoal grey and black business suits.
Some of them wearing them well and
some of them not wearing them well at all,
better off in jeans and a tee shirt, sweats and a cap.

Boys who would check themselves out
in the windows of the buildings
on their way to work.
Some stealing an awkward side glance
others staring themselves right in the eye
and nodding their heads in approval.

These self-proclaimed knights of New York
These men of thirty two
But boys really

Boys who played baseball in Central Park after work
or ran hoops at the local gym.
Boys who met me at happy hour and made me laugh hard
at myself and at them,
not afraid of saying it like they thought it was,
not afraid of being too loud or out of line.

I am not done mourning the boys dressed as men
whose final moments were spent standing in broken windows,
clinging to the walls of a building that would betray them.
Side by side like so many days spent at work
and so many nights at play,
staring out at a city unable to save them
a city aching to embrace them.

I am not done mourning.

copyright 2001



How I Found Out That Day

My lover called
over and over
that morning
leaving messages.

He wouldn’t tell me
on the messages
what was happening.

Most of them
he repeated “Wake up.”
and my name
elongating it
like a melody,
giddiness in his voice.

On and on
he kept
ringing and ringing
and singing
and singing.

Eager to get me to
pick up the phone.
Eager to tell me to
turn on the TV.

So he could
be a witness
as I watched
the city burn.

The city he knew
gave birth to me.
The city he knew
I longed for more than
I would ever long for him.

That is how I found
out that day.
That is why I could
never love him.

copyright 2003


Every Man

He’s got her waving to construction workers,
a hand raised, finger rolling wave hello.
Her sexuality pulsates like radar.

Wanting him, she had to have him.
Having him, she wants him again.

She wants every man.
She sees them with renewed clarity -
all so beautiful, so strong,
so flawed, so perfect.

The way they walk down the street,
with their shirts flowing and their big pants
keeping their manhood under wraps.

She wants to unwrap them.
Downtown in the hot sun,
her hip huggers on, her belly exposed.
She wants to unwrap them all,
one by one or in groups.

Wanting him, she had to have him.
Having him, she wants him again.
She wants every man
again and again and again.


copyright 2001




Like a selfish lover
with no regard for
the top of my head
banging against the
plaster wall
------- like that
New York City takes me

With the crafty hand
of a pickpocket
reaching in
lifting my wallet
somewhere on Spring
and Broadway

--------of all places
Once gritty
now Bonnie Bell glossy
Among tourists
under downpour
perfect chaos
for a thief

And the bag -
not of my choosing
--------a gift
without a proper
zipper to secure
the contents
only a tiny
fashionable, magnetic
crotchless panties easy
------like that

But I am not angry
Rather, I grab
--------my ankles
and whisper in
New York’s ear,
“What else have you
------got for me?”


copyright 2003




Only Led Zepplin
can scream me back to late afternoons
on hot school roof tops. Black tar stain
on cut-off short shorts
Cigarette at lips and corrupt company
with his own set of wheels -
two with broken spokes
I would balance on the back
holding his tiny waist
pulling his boney frame against
my flat chest.
Rebel virgins
Neither of us boy or girl
but thinking we were
so distinctly our sex
we bragged of blow jobs
and finger jobs like we’d
given or gotten them.
fighting for control.
And all the while
from a banged up radio
strapped to the handle bars
Jimmy Page
screamed our anthem.


copyright 2004

Of Note! Check out Susan's VidClip of "Leaving Los Angeles" from the "Ode To The Sidewalks of New York" performance at The Bowery Poetry Club.




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