Two Poems
my 30th birthday

he drank a good scotch all
night from the bottle
on the tv stand he had been
saving for his birthday.
for 29 years his father
hadn’t gotten him a
thing but this time
he handed the bottle over
and said, “you’ve lost
enough now, you’re ready”.

but he didn’t think
of his father as he drank.
he thought of her
way up there in harlem
wearing new dresses
and walking new streets,
getting off work each
day and taking home a new subway.
he thought of how
she got high and didn’t say much,
things like that
used to matter
though he couldn’t remember why,
even if he never had to worry about her,
where she was 
and who
she’d gone there with,
that didn’t seem like enough then,
but it did now

he was drunk and hungry
and thought of food his new
home didn’t have, 
and how they
used to walk through the village
for coffee on the way 
to vietnamese kitchens
and sometimes see 
patti smith on her stoop
or rare breeds of 
hunting dogs in the park.
he remembered her feet didn’t
reach the ground if she 
sat against the back of the bench  
and she crossed them at the ankles 
and swung them like
a kid on a swing, 
like a kid who realized
there was all the time 
left in the world
and nothing was ever 
going to go wrong

there were many days like that
and some weren’t like that at all

i wish this didn’t happen

remember when you 
got the guts
to tell me
i’d never be happy?
while you were crying
and naked
waiting for me to
understand what
you already knew?
it was the moment
that i realized
i’d always be alone.
i said you
were crazy
but a better man would
have called it bravery.
i can remember your diary
on the floor
lying like a bone,
the inside of you
showing itself to me,
you weren’t an artist but
i’ll bet a younger
you wanted to be.
and i remember i
only had a hoodie for
the walk home.
the smoke trailed out of
my mouth
from your front door to
my back porch

the time after that
when you took me
back you asked me-
“why can’t this
just be easy?”

i wanted you to understand
it was they
or it
that didn’t want 
like that.
we were just actors
playing characters
on their stage 
with no notes
or method
or clear understanding 
of why the
curtain always falls exactly the same way.

they sent
us out
the same moon.
made us share the same bad
and it worked for awhile
because you saw life
for what it could be
and i saw life
for what it was.
but there’s no peace
for people like me.
all those
hours you spent smiling in your sleep
i knew they were closing in.
so i never slept
and i wondered about my home in the sky
or my hole
in the ground

i hope you know
what i know now.
that they were closing in
for you. but it
wasn’t to take you.
they built a wall
around you
that showed itself sometimes.
when light fought its way
through leaves and
and under doors
like carpets
to warm your feet.
it was never easy because i never
had faith in anything. 
i was just like the rest of them.
and i loved you because
you weren’t like any of them.

i forgot about all that.
and light was always around
i just never noticed
until it stopped
shining on us

SCOTT LAUDATI lives in NYC with his boxer, Satine. He is the author of Hawaiian Shirts In The Electric Chair (Kuboa Press). Visit him on instagram @scottlaudati 
The Adirondack Review
FALL 2016