Most People Have Shadows But I got Broom Sweeper Man

It’s a wild time of day

When the Texas Chicken and Burger
Sign above Broadway

Flickers with needed rub and affection
Its tongue

Along the crease
Of upper teeth and sucks in

Thru day lit neon

ew- glimmer
oyster even
good light to believe in
why smokers keep heavin’
thru creaked open lips

to hiss out
snakey and gross hello’s

The flickering sign
And the gargoyles that rhyme
Beneath it became one

Influencing each other
As they transformed into
A breath of fluorescent light
Ssspissing at anyone who limped in their sight

But here comes Broom Sweeper Man!

Under a thunder of trains
No rhythm ambivalence
When it rains

JMZ – he don’t care
He aint shy

Clouds unwrap their gauze from the injured sky
And— water
Like blood
(New York’s favorite Nature)
Nature’s over BedStuy

Cause when it starts to rain
Broom Sweeper Man
Starts his campaign

Doubling up with the past
Like his waist-band say Everlast
At last at last

I love Broom Sweeper Man

the way he sweep puddle dry of their puddles
the most arbitrary hero

I chant his name when its grey
I chant a psalm a day

“Go Broom Sweeper Man!”
I yell thru my coney palms

“Go Broom Sweeper Man!”
My echy heart booms

But all that comes out is…

Broom Sweeper Man—

Aint it too cold for all that?

Broom Sweeper Man—

You tryna sweep up them puddles
So they don’t turn into ice rinks?

Broom Sweeper Man—

What’s wrong?

Broom Sweeper Man

What’s your Chiron ?

Sarah Jane Stoner once told me
My Chiron is in the communication house

And now

I wonder

Are you a Leo too?

Are you writing poems about me?
Do people like your poems about me?
Would I like your poems about me?

Me? Me ?
Me? me ?
Me ? me? me?


Broom Sweeper Man—

Do you know im terrified of failure

That I specifically don’t define success
So im always disappointed

Or is it so im always pleased ?

Always blissapointed

Broom Sweeper Man—

Do you know how many times I’ve asked for forgiveness

How many partners ive asked to be forgive-me-full

How many nights ive been forgive-me-less

Broom Sweeper Man—

If language informs culture
(which we all know it does)
I wish someone would have taught me how to spell
Madonna Whore Complex a long time ago

Broom Sweeper Man—

Do you know
I’m fighting to finish these poems
Because Ice Hockey finished playing me first
And I never got a chance to lean
Into the puck
And tell her how much she is just like poetry

Each comma a black one of my bodies
Shouldering strokes across the mostlyest white
Each Haiku – the most believable-eveable deke
Stanzas dangle on the goal line – last minute winning streak
The anaphora is hiding in the neutral zone transitions
Turnovers turn into better winning positions

Sweet Lord if you give me this hattrick

I promise to finally write that villanelle

The one about each comma— a black one of my bodies
Shouldering strokes across the mostlyest white
Each haiku
Gliding on blades of grass
No zamboni’s
Just erasers and Mezcal
That grow on pretty trees
With the juicyest fruit
So uicy for sipping
Straight off the crossbar
Knocking the goalies bottle
Off the upper part of the net

When he droolin
We shoot top shelf
Where mama keep the good cheese
Where daddy keep the Lagavulin

Broom Sweeper Man—

I see you sweeping
But if im honest
The way you Sweep broom across pavement
Looks like you One timing ripples across Kozyosko
Shadow-boxin’ your reflection in an all wet dress code

And I see you doin what you doin
Cause you doin you

And I cant help but feel a little jealous

And I know you already know
That jealousy is when all of the decisions we’ve said no to in our lives

Come back to us as our ghost NO’s

And the Ghost No’s come back to us
Wearing other people real clothes

To give us a glimpse of how close
That in the flesh yes could have been


My ghost NO’s come back
To say shit like

Sup nigga

You good


And then they laugh
And float off

My Ghost no’s come back
To Say shit like

“mira papi
I know its too late pero…
“M.a.d.o.n.n.a. c.o.m.p.l.e.x.”
“Madonna complex”

And then they laugh
And float off

My Ghost No’s come back
To Say shit like

Not all poems need to be political

Sometimes flowers
Can just be flowers

Bodies tilt towards god
Ready to say any yes necessary

And float off

Like sunlight in the past tense

Glow turns into glew
Sunshine glewing over an empty field
Full of flowers
Just being flowers
In the warm glew of august light

My ghosts only leave me smiling

Like a bouquet of peacocks
Tailing lightly
In the kiss orange glew of Rainbows and Rainbews

But Some people have shadows
And I got Broom Sweeper Man—

And I love him
my bitter ghost

The part of me that’s also me

The part that loves Jack Johnson

Not the heavy weight champion of the world who fought victoriously for freedom and the right to Kiss anyone in public and in private and changed the world as we know it with courage and skill and Endless training

No – the part of me that loves the other jack Johnson
The horrible singer
Who sung about bubbly toes and pancakes and not answering the phone sometimes

The part of me
That wishes we never quit playing hockey

That part of me im working on
Arms crossed
With his back to the crowd
Like miles live on the corner

Broom Sweeper Man sweeps puddle when it rains
Broom Sweeper Man sweeps puddle and complains

Saying wild shit like
Fuck Ice and it puddle cousins
I’m trying to ruin the option
So Let me Sweep before its gets too cold
Let me ruin the rink before I get too old

Cause Some people have shadows
And I have Broom Sweeper Man

And I love him
Even when he cap off the rip
And Say wild offensive shit

I heard him this morning
While it was pouring

And he was screaming in golashes

“Fuck Bad brains
Fuck Joan Mitchell
Fuck Twombly
Fuck Plath
Fuck Neruda
Fuck Walcott
Fuck Elizabeth Bishop
Fuck Hockey
Fuck Gretzsky
Fuck Poems
Fuck Bobi Ore
Fuck Jerome Iginla
Fuck Mother-well
Fuck Hammons
Fuck Baudelaire
Fuck Sappho
Fuck Wu-Tang
Fuck Time and its engine of Promises
Fuck Dirt and its patriarchy of tree’s
Fuck Smiles and feelings precise as pain
Fuck Ritual and terrestrial joy screaming the fragrance of flowers in spring
Fuck Memory and it’s treadmill of illusion
Fuck Magic and it’s routine of believable lies
Fuck the blue sky so blue only trust makes it real
Fuck Birds and the way they chirp comma’s into earned paragraphs of silence
Fuck Worms for being so resilient and perfect
Fuck Eddie Santiago and beautiful erotic salsa
Fuck Myth
And definitely Super Fuck rhythm”

I cringe when he curses my heros
I cringe when he talks like nero

Sweepin his puddly tears
Crying like he been sweepin for years

But I hear him
And know
He’s not entirely so wrong

But I cannot blame him
And I will not shame him

Only holyest praise
Like stilts or boat boots

So he can ride in with the tide
If he need him some rest
Or to confide in the horizon

Because some people have shadows
But I got Broom Sweeper Man—

Resentful and honest

I asked him once where he was from

He pointed uptown
And said the sun

Big Ray and them other other niggas
Co-signed his ambition

Say he been looking for street-rink to christen

Say he Couldn’t stop fussin
Say he look just like me
Coulda been my cousin or somethin’

I look at his puddles
I tell him it’s nothin

I call out his name
And I tell him
I love him

If Malcolm X had a Monster Truck

I wonder if he would rain-whip down Patchen avenue
slow blasting the new Kodak Black
with thick women in back seat ratchet

chest straps clung to bliccy’s
as they drove passed Blick on Marcy
arguing over propper nouns for Blackness

                  “empty fridge”
“close-eye’d smiles” “ivory”
“3 am roses” “midnight in focus”

       “pitch blankness” “forgetten thanks you’s”
“charcoal hiding in a cop-plotting darkness”

the unanimous favorite
“shadowy pigment raw night after night raw”

if Malcolm X had a monster truck
I wonder if he would wait till 5 pm—

to drive to Utrectch Art Supplies
so traffic was thick as winter linen
in pearls drive over used cars

turning bodies into a matrix of lunch-crushed eggshells
Kan’s frozen Lasagna in the “Freezer weeping black”
would he open the window

and let songs out his mouth

like smoke singing off the end of a black and mild
Hartman and Coltrane

“and my art would beeeeee

like my heart and meeee
dedicated to youOoouuuu
ToOou youuouuououou”

pointing to John Chanblerlnd’s Sculptures
as they drove through Indiana
laughing at American capitol

capital “V” vehicles
not accelerating their capitol C C-ehicles forward
in the exact way they were promised

would he pick up Martin
in the lifted jeep
with Stravinsky louding over the streets

Biggie in the back seat
plastering gang signs
into the grey wall sky

like hands imitating coins
pocketed by oceans of fingers
recounting the gray dimes of poverty in holey wool

if Malcolm X had a monster truck
I wonder what the decals would be
would it be you?

with muscly arms ?
on Dekalb
holding a sign?

of a saw that just cut through heaven
with sawdust piled up like pyramids of light-skinned protesters
demanding a rebate for this beautiful
beautiful wild

if Malcolm had a monster truck
I’d ride shotgun

holding a tape recorder to the engine
making mixtapes for children
and call the album

the children will not like it
because its not very catchy

but they’ll love it’s onomonopic nature
and learn that you never ask for permission to fight back
you kill em

and pray for em

Back to Issue

Infrequent email notifications