an ode to Allan Stewart Konigsberg

On New York Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, I notice a film crew. It is sometime between 9:30 am and 9:45. I am wearing sleep between my eyes even though I’ve showered and coffee’d. My legs are parted and I am straddling a heavy beast of metal, gears, rust and squeaks called Heleanore the bicycle. I slowed down because I always do when I see a wardrobe truck, table of catered food, and a slur of wiring and lights. I am thinking about work, the exhaustion of being a worker and…then…I…see…

There were two main things on my list to do before I die:

In March, 2012, BlazeVOX books published my full-length book of poems, to go without blinking

…and on 25 October, 2012, I crossed #2 off my list: meeting seeing Woody Allen.

Somewhere on that residential street, you can find my heart– that literal pumping muscle– in a pile of yellow, orange and red leaves because I am quite sure it leapt out of my body.

I. Just. Stared. Got. Off. My. Bike. And. Watched. Him.

I thought about what I could say so that I wouldn’t be seen as just another “fan”. Instead, a future friend or someone he might call on Sunday to drink coffee with and talk about our favorite NY Times articles. I’m not looking to run away with him or have a romantic tryst. I’d just like to share a peanut butter sandwich on pumpernickel bread, maybe a Dr Brown’s root beer soda and some stories.

If I wasn’t on my way to work, I’d have remained in that spot all day. Instead, I breathed him in, waited for him to look over (which I am quite sure he did!!!) and notice the frizzy-haired redhead. Then I shakily biked off.

As I ride the 5 train toward the Bronx, I reflect on what I would have liked to have said to him…..

Hi. Hello. Welcome back to Brooklyn. I live here. Well, I live about six blocks away. What made you choose this area to film? How is your health? I mean, you look great. I was just wondering. I really enjoyed To Rome, With Love, though I must admit that my top three favorites in order are Annie Hall, Manhattan, and Play It Again, Sam. I didn’t think you were filming in New York anymore. Where is your favorite place in New York to eat? Does Soon-Yi call you Woody or Allan or Stewart or…? What are you reading right now? Do you like peanut butter sandwiches? How do you spend your Sundays? Women who I’ve attempted to flirt with have said I look like you. Perhaps they didn’t mean it as a compliment, but I was flattered. How do you balance marriage and kids with your creative life? I make everyone I fall in love with watch Annie Hall with me and they usually love it just as much as I do. Do you still talk to Diane Keaton? Have you read her new book? Do you think I look like you? I write poems. Do you ever read poetry? What is your biggest regret? Are you a morose character? I think about death all the time even when I’m in the throes of an orgasm. Where do you feel most inspired? My dad met his idol, Milton Berle, on an airplane and it wasn’t such a positive experience. Do you idolize anyone? Is there anything you’re afraid to speak out loud? How often do you cry? You always get the girl in your movies; I always lose the girl in real life. How non-fiction is your fiction? Can I give you a poem? Can I make you a sandwich? Can we have lunch together? Do you really not want to be part of a club that would have you as a member? Yeah. Me either.

please don’t tell

Does the angle between two walls create:
a) an uncomfortable place to lean
b) a morose shadow
c) a happy ending

On a Saturday, I am joined by a woman wearing blue hips. She speaks in clicks and swirls of pen ink. Her laughter is a meal I savor all evening.

In a museum, we wander. There is a room with thick floss creating boxes of mazed claustrophobia. Ticket holders pause in the darkness. I notice a man; I notice my discomfort being blind in a room of his gender. The rope bends, pulls up and to the sides.

Does the artist want us to panic? Does the artist want us to focus on shape shifting? Is the artist watching?

Tour guide with long, blond hair and purchased smile tells us to stare into the red neon blinking exhibit.

This will take away your memory, she says.
Good thing, I blurt. I’m ready to start over.

I stare, refusing any blinks to interrupt. There is burning in my retinas, but I push through it. I have a lot of memories to extinguish.

In the evening, we come across a bar with no sign, with no mention, with a huge waiting list. Only in New York would a bar exist that has a secret entrance in a telephone booth built into a hot dog shop.

Over three hours later, we receive a call that it is our turn to enter. I wonder what exists in this place. Will there be men or women walking around naked, slurping expensive shots of liquor off each other’s curved parts?

I can recall various places I’ve been where images such as this filled the room. A man in pink tutu wearing dog leash and bruises, asking to be whipped. Women with lipstick all over their bodies from other women’s lipstick sticking to them. Piles and piles of condoms.

We enter the bar.


Safe sex paraphernalia?

Women walking around carrying cheese platters?
(I was hungry; no)

It was really just a bar.

Men in fancy suits or button down shirts that looked newly pressed and steamed.

Women wearing cleavage and smiles.

Then, a redhead wearing bandana on neck, striped shirt with black vest. Converse. Some visible knots in hair. Scars replacing bling.

I’m not supposed to tell because that is what the bar advertised.


There is taxidermy everywhere. My beautiful friend keeps getting accosted by a stuffed grizzly wearing a hat and several rows of sharp teeth.

Where the walls meet, there are tables of people, gathering stories or alcoholic buzzes. I feel envious for the dead animals nailed up.

They don’t have to wait on a list or order overpriced drinks (though impressively made with locally grown herbs).

They don’t need to worry if anyone will notice the ink stain on right pocket of jean shorts.

They definitely don’t have to feel distracted by the fear that deodorant protection ran away two hours ago and any sudden movements may offend.

They just get to remain there, regardless of social class or ability to match shoes to shirt.

Please don’t tell but I think I fell in love with New York City a little more on this day. With all of its secrets and odd quirks. New York City is kind of like me.

happy ending or….an uncomfortable place to lean?