Thursday, July 9, 2009


I never knew there were
fireflies in the New York City
Until one night
A flicker of light
On a dark street
In Queens
The shadows from the trees
Masking the tall lamps above

I walked quickly all those years
My eyes on the concrete
My ears on my footfalls
Aware of anyone behind me and
Too scared to look left or right
To catch that glimpse of light
From an unassuming
Black fly

I saw them in clusters
Darting in circles
Bright yellow bursting open and fading
I stood still in the street
Tried to take a picture with
My phone
Could not time it well
And got only darkness
A picture unsaved -
Elusive insect biochemically lit
From within
While artificial bulb squares
Serve as backdrop
Brick buildings and curbs,
Nature obscured
By the city.

-GSS 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009


If I take all of our communications
Bottle them up and
Try to make them work
I get one message:
You do not deserve me

You do not deserve me because
I am honorable
I can see the shades of gray
I am honest
I am living life two steps ahead of you
I have seen the color and the shadow
I cannot forget your hands on me
Despite your indecision

The purple in the sky looks like bruises
I am reminded of all you said
Those short missives
Those midnight impulses
Your pictures
Your body
Broken up into segments
Broken down into small, easily digestible

I can look at you whenever I want to
Through the static and pixels but
You don't blink and you don't move
The silence is disconcerting
As it has been
Since the day I left

I want you more than I want many things
Your complicated situation aside
The box was not small enough to contain us
But I should have walked away
You have your decisions to make
Your emotions to swallow
And where does that leave me -
Inside and outside
Up and down
Waiting on your infrequent words

I am mixed up and unaware of
Where you are
Where you have been
What you have said or
Have not said
Where your hands are, your fingers
Where your lips are, your breath
Whether she can hear your heart beat
Or not
I want to hear your low voice
Your laughter
See your eyes shine just for me
I want your fingers in my
I want your tongue on my
I want your face
Your ears
Your hair

This waiting is impossible but
I am resigned to it
A challenge
A growing
Breaking free of past patterns
Help me out of this wondering
Help me see through you
I can see right through you.

-GSS 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


We take turns wading into the storm.

I stand under scaffolding on 76th street
Waiting for a break in the rain,
Waiting for my turn to step out
Into the wet street,
Submerge my feet in the small
Rushing river at the curb,
Where asphalt meets concrete
Where gutter drains overflow and
Broken umbrellas rest,
Sodden and forgotten.

There is a woman running in
Bright red heels and a jogger
Oblivious to the downpour.
A man smoking a cigarette next to me,
Observing, as I am, the city, the torrent,
The streams in the cracks in the sidewalk.

I am watching the crowds but
I don't see their faces.
I am thinking of you,
Thinking of glaciers and mountains
Birds and bicycles
Your hand in mine while we drive,
Your voice and your eyes.

I am thinking that one month from today
I will see you again.
I will leave the city and escape,
The rain will fade into the background,
The only sound, the only presence,
The two of us.

I am ready to plunge into the storm,
Ready to run in my open-toed shoes
Slipping and sliding, skin on leather
But I really want to run to you.

We take our turns in the silence
And it doesn't matter,
City or country, trees or smokestacks,
We are the same -
Waiting to step off an edge,
To dive head-first
To break the suspense and fall
Fall into openness, the unknown
Fall into each other while the clouds
Color the sky black
The moon overtakes us and shines its white light
Illuminates us, breaks us open
Joins us
Until we are one.

-GSS 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bird Watching

The sun is strong and plays its tricks well.
Reflections in the snow burn me,
Turn me red, inside out.

Twilight comes late and the
Temperature changes us.
Birds alight on the mud flats while
The tide rolls away.

I hold my camera steady.
There may be a photograph,
There may be beauty,
But their wings soon spread.

By day we are seagulls,
Plain and simple.
White, gray and yellow streaks in the sky.
By night we let our flights take us
Further afield.

Dusk descends and the truth
Sits calmly -
We are thought, feeling and ink,
More than two, more than one,
Flying forward.

--GSS 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Night We Sang

The night we sang karaoke
On Fulton Street
Walked over the Brooklyn Bridge
Saw the city shining before midnight
Held hands in the subway while
You made me promise
Never to lie
I told you I don't roll that way
Knew I was falling in love
When we returned to Harlem
Under falling snow.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The city feels different tonight,
No longer our city,
Our skyline,
Our Brooklyn Bridge.
People are shadows on the streets,
Faceless, passive figures walking slowly.

You left me in the morning and
The suddenness of it took the color from my sight,
The storefronts of Astoria went black.
Our time in your car in Rockaway,
The milkshake in the diner,
The drive back through Brooklyn,
All of it, over and done.

There are parts of the city I can't return to.
The West Village, the Lower East Side,
Especially East Harlem, where we
Walked through snow on Three Kings Day.
The people were faceless, then, because
We could only see each other.

You kept me awake until dawn
Just so you could show me the sunrise
Over Harlem,
Walked me home and tucked me in
So we could sleep 'til noon.
We danced that night in Brooklyn
In a crowded room that seemed so empty,
You inspired me to write after
You said you were falling in love.

I should have known it was too good to be true.
You walked out of my life as quickly as
You entered, left me reeling in your wake.

The city looks different tonight.
I see it with the eyes of one who has been
Left behind.
We had so much to explore,
Unseen streets, untasted food,
Things I wanted to share with you,
Pieces of my city.

The memory of you remains,
Your sensuality and passion.
You were everything I wanted and
I thought I was that for you.
The city is dark tonight,
But I know it won't be that way forever.
The lights and colors will return one day,
The faces of the people,
The flowers in bloom,
The smell of bagels and knishes.
Everything that reminds me of home,
Nothing that reminds me of you.

-GSS 2009


A Pablo Picasso
His interpretation
of "Guernica"
On the
Red brick wall
Down the block
From your place.

You pointed out
This masterpiece
Without fail
Each time we
Passed it by.

-GSS 2009


Our bodies melt together
Slick and seamless
Fish in water
Blues and clear, crystal greens
Gray beaches
Corals on the shore
Lights in the sky
I am yours completely
The violent mossy tide
Strings us along
Like kelp.

My soul is sea green
Frosted stars in a
Cold winter but
With you here
The cold fades into black.

You are everything I know
And everything I want to know
Tidal flats teeming with life
Pools of blood, ripe
The night lit up like
Cigarettes and wine
A backdrop for our symphony
An echo of our emotion
Melodic blending
Rhythmic flow,
We carry on and on.

I was alone on the inside
Until you opened me whole.
Now I'm flooded, overloaded
A cityscape at night
Lit up from within
Dusty seashore that
Carries me home,
I am yours.

I breathe your salt and
Drink your liquid skin.
I am windblown and heartstruck.
Love washes over me with the
Harmony and flow of time
Passages of verse
Chords and disjointed phrases
Ambient light and mood.

You are a bright source of light.
You nurture me like the sea,
Bringing me back to myself
In waves.
I would strive always to do
The same for you,
Give back to you a hundredfold
Rock you gently with the moon's
Ancient phases
Breathe life into you
Love you until the end of time,
Your skin, mine, your eyes mine,
As we watch the present moment
Unfold into days and years like
An ocean, bending only
With the flash of
Dawn on a new horizon.

-GSS 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009


In the light of the moon
You are many colors
I see you as you see me
Lengthened shadow and shape,
Forms stretching into darkness
Outside the circle of light.

I am bleeding, raw and open
My pain seeping out
The ebb and flow of emotion
Cold and alone
I don't know who I am
But when you are here
I feel complete.

It took a night like this
To make me see who we are,
Complimentary colors
Red and green
Blue and orange
Purple and yellow.
We roll along unbroken
Painting the past with each track.

I'm finding out who I am
I'm reaching inside this
Wellspring of feeling
Spilling over my edges
Draining out through my eyes.

I long for so much more than
What we are
I know it almost too soon
I fear the intensity and realization,
I fear the loss.

I can teach myself to be happy
But I can't find peace in the
Dark of the forest tonight,
Wishes mean nothing
Covered in ashes,
I've got to carve my own line
Draw it where it lies hidden
Under the rough, dead leaves.

-GSS 2/09

Monday, January 12, 2009


Blue plaster bodies hover under
Orange globes
Corrogated catwalks
Like Matisse's dancers
Perfect circles
Men and women moving slowly
Suspended in this space
Where we are the only ones

The only ones.

-GSS 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009


From the elevated tracks
The rooftops of Queens
Blur together like a dream,
New York in winter wind
Shining palely.

Mist of morning hangs thick
Smokescreen curtain call.
My night has ended and
Day rises from ashes,
Vulnerable and open.

My heart is an echo in the
Metal container that
Carries us forth through the city,
Song lyrics dancing through me
Images of youth flashing forward.

This is not the morning I expected,
No longer lonely,
This is a ray of sunlight,
Fish in a pond leaping to feed
From my hook.

I stand with my unread paper
My backpack
My unfinished words
Thinking of what will be,
What has been,
What never was.

The city holds me cautiously
Afraid to break me
To drop me too soon
All while speeding me forth into
Underground wisdom
Platforms littered with footprints
My dreams in black barrels
Waiting to be emptied.

This is not the day I wanted
Hanging heavy like the heart of
A broken lover
The wonderment of newness
Tinged with fear of loss
Precarious new thing hanging in the balance.

My train brings me back to you.
I step out through the doors,
Acceptance, peace, surety.
Your voice is with me in the halls
As I carry my burdens and empty them
Like discarded dailies.

-GSS 2009