she explodes into skin-stretched radiance on the face of the posterboard, teeth gleaming with candied light and here i am basking in it, beckoning the glow into the niches and cracks that compose me and not minding the hard rattle-board press of the bench underneath as it tries to carve my ass into vertical slats and i'm not having any of that, no, just sitting and dreaming in the calcium wash of bright dentures that can be seen, and more than that felt, across the square

and I wonder "do angels dream," because as long as i've lived i've never seen one and seen it dreaming and had the recklessness to come up to it and ask what it saw behind lidded eyes and i think that if i did, maybe if i did, it would have squared up and faced me—no, that's not the way of angels—it would've looked quietly into itself and told me that she, Our Lady of Times Square, has the face that paints slumber in red and gold and i guess i have to admit that there's some truth to angels if that's the way they feel

cold, it makes me shiver to remember the lie world where tiny steel elephants are hot-dog stands and floating razor-rays of light are just the byproduct of car-beams and i try not to linger too long there for the old habits might claim me and turn me into a sad, shambling creature stitched over in frayed wool and living vampirically off the steam of sewer grates and outstretched bowls of soup that are too good for me anyway not proper food like the kind you can clasp in both hands and take with you when you die to an afterlife full of scarcity where not even the dog-god anubis can afford to pass up a spare sausage to stop the hole in his belly where the world keeps spilling out and it's here that i dwell

on a bench, surrounded by skidding ghosts in the september cold, unaware that real change is coming soon with the fading of the seasons into an endless gray drear that some will call winter, more as an expression for the own ignorance and inability to cope with such things than to properly articulate the frozen forevers that we will all mark out time in, skipping rocks against an iced over wall, and when the chips outnumber the frozen-glass slicks then it will crackle and fall but not before then because summer is never in coming

and i am arrested, not by headlights but by my sun goddess beginning her worldless chant again, silent ra for all that she got her gender changed and if the other gods and presidents don't like it then they can't understand her and that's a shame that will smear faces but not lovely ones because nothing beautiful can be broken down in the gutter, it just digests the sorrows and insufficiencies we live and vomits up through the muddy murk the stuff that matters, mixed in with can tabs and crumpled dollar bills and fliers where they claim to show you a good time but have to show someone else a bad time first and the whole world is a wheel that keeps spinning and it hits me on the hand when i try to stop it so instead i let it go and round and round it whirls begging me daring me to pick and color and maybe i'll get lucky unlike all the other shaggy bodies that share the square with mine, squatting or standing or shuffling off to the big glass buildings where gears bigger than they are grind them down into little tiny pieces to be washed away with the debris into the drains and guess what—they dissolve

like the rain, like the late mist that tastes the air, finding it still too sweet and smoggy for snow, which is good because i am not sure how the goddess would look in a raiment of powdered ice and any more beautiful and she might start blinding motorists or stealing the hearts from pedestrians cold and still to keep in a bank vault east of the sun and west of the moon, guarded by men with riot batons who eat tears like full-bodied feasts and can live for centuries off of a single iota of suffering but that's not a concern yet because i am righteous and pure and have poured the hurt out of me for just this moment and when the crash comes no one will feel it

and she turns her eyes to me at that, and i can't believe it she does she turns and looks at me for a moment and she blinks and then her lips go back to reciting the same invisible catechism about hygiene and paste and i feel strangely deflated somehow like i met the messiah everyone was dreaming about and he turned out to be kind of a dick and we left it at that, me feeling awkward and him walking off to where he found some money on the pavement and I don't think he really did it or that she really betrayed me

but who knows?

i can still dream, right?


The old man grunts when they tell him he has to leave his bench. He would argue, but they're dressed in dark and blue and wear no-nonsense faces. There's no room for squatters in a city so big, and the tourists eddy around him as he walks off into the crowd.