5. Why do you write poetry?

On my way to a friend’s backyard BBQ party in Bed-Stuy, I saw a stoop sale. About five or six people sat or stood around the shady street, drinking and chatting. The Yo! MTV Raps™ trading cards caught my eye, and I picked out several: Big Daddy Kane, Run DMC, Public Enemy, and two variations of Vanilla Ice.

Then I saw the KISS Pez dispenser.


I cannot hum a single KISS song. Still, I was mesmerized by the small, face-painted plastic man. What is it about his face? Why can’t I place this particular mix of desire and dread?  Just then, the proprietor of the stoop sale, a young man who was either a banker, an actor, or a lawyer, directed my attention to a giant Pez dispenser in the front garden. It was Yoda. His pointed ears spanned about twenty inches, and his army green body matched the grass.  The Yoda Pez dispenser transcended my nostalgia. There was no story, no meaning, just the feeling of a door creaking open.

But I didn’t have time for Yoda. I was headed to a BBQ. I bought all four members of KISS Pez. They now sit on a small side table. Eventually, I’ll get tired on them and then I’ll have to write the poem. I’m disappointed that they only date back to 2012 and that people are selling them on eBay for seven dollars. I paid two.

Still, I do love the quiet, sad expressions worn by the “variable,” non-Gene Simmons band members.


Ten people have played in the band over the years.  I wonder, were the other band members ever jealous of Gene Simmons’ special make-up? Or that he could stick out his tongue that far?

When I left that stoop sale, I passed by some old folks sitting on lawn chairs a few doors down. They were a part of the original neighborhood, pre-gentrification, and had been watching the stoop sale unfold. A woman called out to me as I passed: “Did you see the Yoda?”

I felt annoyed, and didn’t want to think about Yoda. The giant Yoda PEZ was outside of nostalgia, in some unknown, explored place. “Yes,” I said, and hurried away.

other kiss members