Scott Laudati

Give a Lozenge to the Voice of the Archangel

they called me at
work and
told me about
a rainy new jersey
about the bed
full of vomit
the dead kid
and a mailbox
full of cards
“happy 20th birthday”

some people
wanted to know
they asked god.
they asked the quiet
boys in the back
what they knew.
there’s only
way a kid dies
when there’s
no car

we heard it
was a persian
whose cousins
or father
ran the oxy ring.
they jumped in the car
so mad
and red eyed
their heads
would have to be
removed from
the body
to stop the
hate from swinging.
but the persian
didn’t fight back
he just cried
and the hate stopped.
so black
it exists
in the corners
of all eyes, we can all see
it, and when we recognize
it in others
it becomes impossible
to pretend your tribe
is not
my tribe.
so there
they were,
letting humanity get
in the way of revenge

we called him
(he shared his father’s name)
and before
the oxy’s
and the
new jersey highway
he planted
a seed in the backyard,
a little maple.
i don’t know
why I always remembered that.
when people grow up
you only know them for
all the times
they’ve fucked you
or fucked her.
but when
you get them young
the times
they’ve reminded you
there’s still beauty left
in the world
that get you

the funeral
an old testament
three blonde angels
cried at the casket
and proved
what we all know but never
there is no god.
they buried
him in a t-shirt
and jeans
because he
was a kid
and he was cool
and honoring him
in an honest way
kept everyone honest,
nobody could lie
and say
he’d gone to a better place.
i cried
for the first time
as a man
and it felt like
one more tattoo
had been hammered
in to
the surface
of my heart.

back at my aunt’s
she held me for
too long,
she said
“i lost my
little boy. he looked
up to you”.
all i could say was
“he was
a cool kid”.
i looked at my aunt
had lost
her little boy.
his father,
a bulldog of a man
that life had finally beaten.
my three
blonde cousins
might have thought
about the day
he was born,
or the men they would
that would never
share the
alter with their
and i thought
about all the friends
i’ve had that
or went to jail
and the reason was always
the same: Heroin.
and once
i hadn’t seen the signs
that were now so obvious,
and i never reached out
though everyone needs it.
the seed “little” had planted
was now a tree,
but nobody mentioned it

i went home
my girlfriend
said throw them out. take
a break.
hasn’t enough happened?
i told her i did.
but i didn’t.
i ate them
all of them
and i drank,
i knew i might die
i probably wouldn’t,
and at least i
would feel
better for
a while.
i should’ve told
“little” about what
the suburbs and boredom
could do.
but he was a smart kid,
we shared the same blood.
i should’ve told him
about the fear
and what
can do

• • •

Sit with Me

can you sit with me please?
i’m ready to tell those
stories you should’ve heard
i made you
i’ve written them to you now,
two stamps
in case my feelings become too
another weight i don’t mean to make you carry.
can you sit with me please?
i can put us onto paper
now, more than this
loneliness, more than this regret.
i can lock us in love.
i can lock us in time.
we can be in old books on a shelf.
used and traded and passed
back and forth, and put a smile
on the face of all those who come after us.
i can’t do it without you.
i can’t
i can’t

• • •


Scott Laudati lives in NYC. He is the author of Play The Devil (Kuboa Press). Visit him on instagram @scottlaudati