Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.

January 15-21, 2004

cover story

Poetry Winner


All failure ends here and the failures are beautiful,

like swan dives and breaching whales.

Failed marriages, failed music, failed attempts to fix things.

Look at the wall of guitars, lined up as if waiting for soup.

Saxophones, trumpets and trombones,

tarnished and breathless, doomed to off-key lives.

The glass case is full of luck-sapped rings

waiting for another finger to fill them with hope.

There is a surplus of wrenches, rolling toolboxes

red as shamed faces, heavy as lapsed mortgages and drug habits.

The shelves are overflowing with saws and drills,

cords dangle like dead king snakes.

If you have ever been here, there is no need to explain why

one day a man walked in calmly, picked a circular saw,

fired it up and ripped it through his neck.

That is an act of blistering clarity not a hair of ambiguity or grace.

His hot blood the absolute last thing he had to get rid of

a perfectly cut diamond of failure. Could it be any clearer for you?

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