Macy's 2007 after Ross Gay

Because rent is two weeks late for the third straight month
since May, because she is 43 and the bar down the block
he promised to return from last spring has been shut down
for months, because she looks like my mother
and all she wants is for someone to say her name
in that certain way, because new heels are not a luxury
when the manager’s attention needs keeping
(and the refrigerator needs filling), because I know
the kind of sludge that this wet city air can make
of a person’s brain in the summer – how heat
can be a convenient enough excuse for anything
and everything – I don’t even glance in her direction
when she swings a round of sharp bullet backhands
into the ear of her youngest son in the shoe aisle.
He falls to the rough carpet in tears, bangs his head
like a racket ball against the metal shoe-sizer on the floor,
whimpers in a heap like a kicked dog. I don’t even glance
in their direction. I need some new shoes, too.


Adam Falkner is an award-winning New York City-based poet, performer, essayist and fulltime public high school teacher. He is a seasoned veteran of the National Poetry Slam scene with substantial formal training in voice, piano and performance art. Adam’s work has appeared in anthologies and journals such as Unsquared (826 Publications, 2006), The Barbershop Chronicles (Penmanship Books, 2008), decomP Magazine, The Other Journal, The Esu Review, Lamplighter Review and others, and has been incorporated into coursepacks for use in sociology and social work curricula in post-secondary education. He has also been featured on HBO, BET, Michigan and New York Public Radio and in Time Out New York.

Adam is a National Associate for the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP), Ginsberg scholar and a recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit Award in higher education for his pioneering work at the University of Michigan in the areas of Whiteness studies and Intergroup Relations. In addition to performing at over 50 US colleges and universities, prisons, juvenile detention centers, drug rehabilitation facilities and performance venues across the country, Adam also leads professional development workshops for faculty and staff at institutions for higher education about how to incorporate performance art, creative writing and intergroup dialogue into the teaching and training processes.

He currently teaches 11th and 12th grade English/Creative Writing at the Academy for Young Writers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.