Donna Dallas

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Penn Station 2004

What a shit show
with the skeleton crackheads
laid out on the ground
like beaten and battered soldiers
in a semi-coma wait
for the next hit
beg for a dollar
a train ticket
for anything
I decline
offer to buy one coffee
he declines
I full well know
he could care less about coffee
or keeping warm
I see them crawl in from the street
hover in dark corners
shit where they lay
every day a maze of them

One boy smiles
still half alive
bit of a human glow
so familiar
his beautiful black eyes
the whites so white
pouty lips
I recall twirling with him
endlessly at Escuelita
back in our heyday
we laughed and danced
and twirled until noon
on Sundays

We would open the door to exit
the sun shone bright like Mother Mary
as we twirled along 39th street
and skipped to the diner
for breakfast

This morning 7am
our eyes meet
his full lips form a semi-smile
he once did a handstand on the bar for me
and we kissed like best girlfriends
in love with those weekends
when we were under the young moon
safe from death and decay
his arms this eerie morning
so skeletal
a minefield
of sores and tracks
I knew the eyes
they knew me back

For a second
his half smile
our twirl in time
the cold races down
the dank steps quick
he shivers
and shakily
asks me for a dollar


Donna Dallas studied creative writing and philosophy at NYU’s Gallatin School and was lucky enough to write under William Packard, founder of the New York Quarterly. She has appeared in a plethora of journals, most recently Horror Sleaze Trash, The Opiate, Beatnik Cowboy and Cajun Mutt Press. Donna serves on the editorial team of Red Fez and New York Quarterly.