This isn’t how I hoped I’d live my life,

suddenly awake

as the phone blares disco beats.

The iPhone starts to shake

with a wheezed malevolence. Deep breath.

Slap down a groping hand.

Toilet. Toothbrush. Shower. Shave.

Each civilized demand


feels like a move toward life itself, as warmth

courses through the veins.

Our motor systems push against

the obvious refrains

of too much work and far too little sleep

and barely getting by

on what I make for what I owe.

There’s only so much pie


in a given chart, and past one hundred

it doesn’t quite add up,

another blend of coffee, but

in someone else’s cup.

Fuzz out the numbers and the equals signs,

forget the integers—

the positives and negatives—

north-south, or his-and-hers.


Breakfast. I can almost feel my face,

and then my sense of smell

returns with yogurt and tea with milk.

I guess it’s just as well

that once again it’s fall, and the humidity

is slightly less oppressive.

The fan’s on “low” beside my bed.

I think I look impressive


heading down the street in chelsea boots,

a vintage leather tie,

slim-cut trousers, French-cuffed sleeves,

and hair in my right eye,

though texturized and separated out

by an expensive trim.

The slim-cut jacket’s double-vented.

Some quixotic whim


insists upon a pocket square. We take

the time because we must

to indicate the place we are,

the people whom we trust.

So off to the bodega for a cup of sludge


WMD in taste.

It makes me feel alive.


As I head toward Lorimer, the sun

is heating up my back.

It’ll get hot, but not quite yet.

I pick up the slack

pace I’d set myself as Wallabout

angles toward the west.

Cut left on Bedford, right on Park.

I’ll spare you all the rest.


Suffice it to say that I arrive on time,

take the elevator

to my office, and prepare

for classes slightly later

in the day. And as the screen comes on

(arthritically, of course),

I think about the coming week

and hope to fuck “the Force


is with me,” at least for a little while.

(Click on the file, then print.)

Thirteen hours till I’m in bed.

(The toner’s almost spent.)

Head downstairs and off to class.

Here goes another day

of rattling off points I-V

pretending I’m okay.