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Pinny Bulman

Pinny Bulman was born and raised in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, USA. Pinny is a Bronx Council on the Arts BRIO award-winning poet. He has been winner of the Poets of NYC Contest, recipient of several ADR Poetry Awards, and a finalist for the Raynes Poetry Prize. His poems recently appeared in the anthologies Undeniable (Alternating Current Press) and Escape Wheel (great weather for MEDIA) and were published in Korean translation for Bridging the Waters III (Korean Expatriate Literature & Cross-Cultural Communications). Pinny’s poetry has also appeared in a variety of other literary publications, including The London Reader, Muddy River Poetry Review, Artemis, Pressenza International, Red Paint Hill, and Poetry Quarterly.


ninety-two million miles later, the sunlight

slamming through the dirty bus window

projects urgent messages onto worn faces

become traveling destinations

an older woman humming softly

as she reads the gospel next

to a man with torn sneakers just conscious enough to

occasionally lift the spray bottle of dusting cleanser

to his nostril

all of us born in cosmic explosion, we refugees

always speeding from our fiery origins,

stuck in traffic at unimaginable speeds

across from me a toddler slips a pacifier

over the bent neck

of a broken emergency handle,

one more child in this world deciding

to no longer be silenced.

breakfast cereal, with roaches


before taking the cereal box from the kitchen shelf

bang it twice with the back of your hand

then step back,

give the larger ones a chance to exit the box

and seek shelter


choose a bright bowl with solid color

no patterned designs,

use hard plastic

or a startled jerk of disgust

may lead to shatter


pour slowly and carefully in a brightly lit room,

always pour the cereal before

pouring the milk


if you encounter one while eating

and your sibling gleefully repeats the joke

about protein being part of a balanced breakfast

say nothing,

use your spoon to silently catapult the roach

into their bowl


even if your parents rarely allow sugary cereals

even if it is the only sugary cereal in the apartment

never ever choose the cocoa pebbles


one day you will have a family of your own

live in a different neighborhood

you will forget that breakfast cereal once had roaches until the morning the back of your hand accidentally

bangs the cereal box while reaching for the milk,

these memories will suddenly peek out over the top

skitter down the sides of the box

and while you sit frozen

quickly seek shelter back in the shadows.

come away

this summer night

the playground fences melt into the sidewalk

shrug off solidity

our liquefied longing greasing the swing chains

pooling in sweaty hands

the palm lines blurring

increasingly illegible

come away you whisper

let us cleanse ourselves in the hydrant spray

purifying this broken place,

listen to the lost harbor winds

playing the bridge suspension cables like a harp

i beg of you, do not awaken

the love until

it is desirous

we lean over the rusting railing

to watch ourselves ripple

in the river quietly cutting through the bedrock

itself vibrating

sending signals to something molten churning beneath,

why pretend that anything can be still

remain whole

come away you whisper

this water too can be split

and the wilderness pulled over our heads like a quilt

let us follow our pillar of fire

towards the distant spice mountains

come away.


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