Chris Nold

[email protected]

Hello again, my friends, and welcome all to “The Z-Line,” a monthly feature highlighting poems by our current Bushwick neighbors and/or natives. For this month’s installment, I’m pleased to present Nunzio La Placa and his poems “Stockholm, CA,” “un –)23+and!@<<,.?,?/** &” and “Thoughts from LA.”

Stand clear of the closing doors, please.

Stockholm, CA

Routine to rhythm, I hoped a hope next to

The Reservoir in Central Park froze,


When rocks were cast from hidden, frigid fingers

To crack what ice had been knit so tightly in a trice.

&my eyes were fixed to catch a glimpse beneath: the water—

&&was I really free then?

&&&whose story was I writing then? When

Darkness disclosed a


Through icy fissures wending

To reveal me a scene where:

Dancing me

Met me

Outside Mood Ring

And asked,

“Are you having a hard time?”

And those smolderings on a distant coast

Burning at the end of the night,

Rendering and a-righting themselves

Through subtle channels,

Filled my mind with the tearful reply,

“Where did I wake up this morning?”

And as the summer settled across the Burroughs,

My friend threw up against the wall—

The window pulsed against his hand—

But I left him, along with myself

To lean against the JMZ

Suffocated by humidity.

So my body, so my mind is a museum of its history, decrepit;

But there in Brooklyn, I left myself—with all my intentions—

Back in the cracks of frozen flood,

Only to realize together the inescapable:

The fire in Stockholm is burning in me too.

Thoughts from LA

. . .The way she sweated

As I kissed her,


Torrential it poured down in

Waves and made her t-shirt

Cling to her taut, light-brown skin.

I liked the feeling of her sweat beneath my palms

How her skin folded on itself elastic

When I gripped tight

Her back.

                But only the existence of its occurrence

                And nothing else.

The sweat . . .

Endlessly she talked . . .

. . . No one mentioned Hollywood

Neither mentioned Christmas none . . .

My brain looks like that too

Up and down and up

The valleys go deep down sulci-like

And sulky I wrapped up up

I’m positive that’s why I came I’m positive that’s

                    Ineluctable it there my future lay

                    Exposed and

                    Folded in on itself gyri:

Does Destiny have valleys too?

How deep run they?

And when plumbed to the depths, how salty the brine?

Sweat soaked my clothes that night alone


From fevered dreams

And sugared highs

I in robes and blankets bundled

I—well I in darkness consummate—

I cried,


Torrential it poured down in

Waves as I bethought myself,

“I’m just so helplessly self-important.”

un –)23+and!@<<,.?,?/**       &



no or

sin tax or story or

finding back my way i

via direct route (not!)

am and

—opaque meaning

the express // to cloak

the veil // to signal


my making way through back

downing i me i come



what strictures kept me writing so long a time on on on

but back



that essence


showing to hope once, more, again

that energy she showed me today

“I don’t have any interest at all in you”


Nunzio La Placa is a poet living in NYC above the City Fresh on Knickerbocker Avenue.  

Maybe this informs his poetry, but perhaps there is no relation between the two.

If you would like to be included in this monthly series, send 3-5 poems (10 pages max) to [email protected] with the subject “The Z-Line Poetry Submission.” Poems should be attached as Word documents, 10 point, Times New Roman font, double spaced and formatted as they should appear on the site if selected.

Poems can be about anything (not exclusive to Bushwick), but contributors must live within the greater Bushwick area or be a native to the neighborhood to be featured. Please include a brief 3-5 sentence bio and your personal relation to Bushwick. If submitting previously published work, please include appropriate publication credits. You’ll only receive an email if your poem is selected for publication.

Submissions are due by the first of every month, and the selected entry will be published in the final week of the following month. The next deadline is July 1.

Cover image courtesy of Travis American.

For more news, sign up for Bushwick Daily’s newsletter.