City of God

4 train at Grand Central 42nd Street

City of God

Into the breach again

All ties dissolved behind

Ahead a platform, a staircase

A daylight world

Of unformed possibility

A swirl of probability

When I don’t fall I throw myself

I forgo sunglasses, preferring

You see my eyes

What you’ve created

The beauty, the depth

The endless blue

At a certain distance

Blurred by a tear

Of recognition

That I am created

That what I see is only beauty

Stark, effortless

And human

Moving, climbing


In the filth, in the sharp

Voices and guarded glances

Sirens, hawkers and

Wide-eyed children

In abject weariness of overload

And the poverty

Of disconnection

In the rubble of

Walls that crumble


At the gentlest touch

Of something human

I reach out, creator

At the strangest moments

To test the give in a wall

Dig a little dusty mortar

From between heavy stones

Moisten it with a tear

And build a home


©2014 Jason Anderson



The sun gathers in wrinkles on late afternoon sheets

Breeze-scattered energy highlights an intemperate body

A cat grudges to recover a beam


I am not whole nor was I meant

What is not burns for all that is

And spins in the vacuous intermission


This room won’t be sun-filled nor cleared by a wind

Cat and I shift uneasily on empty sheets

One ravenous for flesh

The other stalking an eternal sunbeam


By Jason Anderson



But why does the cat always have to be on my side of the bed?

If Only

Moulin Rouge movie poster, 2001

Moulin Rouge poster art (2001) | Photo: author

If Only

She’s the sweetest thing

Granting me a costly smile

That forebears forgiveness.

She raises her glass with

Both hands like a child

For the thousandth time

I wish, like a child wishes to be

Grown up, or a boy a girl.


Did I choose this heartbreak?

I swear it has chosen me

Raised me with strong hands

Like a promise

To a different light

She: “This should have worked,

If only…”

I: “It would have, if only…”


If only, then, my mind refused

Debts I hadn’t the will to bear

Instead of foolishly counting

On buried treasure.

I make a promise

To four clasped hands:

No more ‘if onlies,’ no

Calculated heartbreaks.


I’ve lost all collateral

There’s no translation, no language

Until all liens are removed.

She smiles sadly, strong

She’s the sweetest thing

But the things I love are bitter.


My heart ducks between

Shadows as I pay her

My last kiss in this currency

And feel the promise of

Unransomed breath

On her lips, bittersweet.


By Jason Anderson

The Sailor

Fishing boat

Returning with the Catch, Block Island Sound (author)

He is a man of the sea

Whose surface takes

Light cast upon it

Whose tidal mood

Depends on the oft-

Shifting weather

By tides placid,

Suddenly tragic

Unpredictable by

Nature, and whose

Hypnotic stare


A certain brackishness


He is a man of the sea

Who doesn’t choose

Battles, luring men


To death and fortune,

Keeps company with

Pirates, sharks and

The imaginary,

Driving men abyssal

With shore expectations

Quenching thirst by

Mad promises

And fantasies


He is a man of the sea

Who after each tempest

Eases back to his shores

But not me

A veteran sailor

With no love for the sea


By Jason Anderson

Some men

Narcissus | Gyula Benczur | 1881

Narcissus | Gyula Benczur | 1881


Some men

are always

falling in love

give you a moment

of their hour

and swear

Narcissus blind

whose watery caress

happens on Ophelia

Cupid destitute

who with childlike resilience

hunts, dining on

squirrely lust

crazy in love



finding the gods wanting


©2013 Jason Anderson
Source image: Wikimedia Commons