Frank Messina






Arsonist of Love in the City of Broken Dreams

12/18/06, Jersey City, NJ



The city reeks of soot and stone-dust tonight

fire engines racing, trying to find a fire

(men in hulking gear and oxygen masks)


the only fire burning tonight

is the fire deep in my heart

burning, turning, yearning for your love

twisting in the empty space I call home

that greets me with wretched paintings, torn manuscripts

empty wine bottles, rusted memories and oblivion;

this space

where I once took you by the hand as we melted into one

but now a cold corner of hell;

a hell I created for myself


like all foolish lovers, takers and givers of love-coins;

give to other fools with holes in their pockets

letting the pieces of their lives roll into the street

and smolder with the incessant burn of love-gone-astray;

love that cinders in the street and decays,

while hulking firefighters search, wait and search again

for the lost love that I left behind

in this city of broken dreams




Visions of Walt Whitman



I saw you

Walt Whitman

high atop the Palisade

with your crooked finger

pointing south toward

New York Harbor


What warning,

what careful directive

did you propose?


What broken ferry

what wounded ship

did your crooked finger lead me?


What pangs of memories

where I crossed

with the gagging rescuer

to Exchange Plaza

that morning

and if so,

why did you leave me stranded

beside him?

what hospice, what triage

what empty beds I find myself beside


Standing, waving on the palisade,

where were you pointing to?

why do you come to me at this hour?


What did you see in those tents Walt Whitman?

at what moment did you snap

did you hear the drums tap?

was it the bugle blowing one too many taps?


I’ve heard the bagpipes of autumn

one too many times, and the tears that fall

from orphaned children

are enough to fill the reservoir to brim


I saw you dear Walt

I saw you!


Were you waving me toward Brooklyn Ferry?

or back to Exchange Plaza where fog

of bone and dust permeated our lungs


and why did you take so long

to show your face, old Walt

with your beard of butterflies?


You, searching for your brother

and I, searching for the soul of America


Is that where you were pointing?

pointing toward the soul of America?


show me the way Walt Whitman

I’ll show you the wine




Shakedown Samson



Through the shafts of midnight

I heard your voice calling,

wondering where the years have gone


all I offered was a strong, sentimental embrace

when you weren’t comfortable with the way

I grinded and hung – perhaps too close,

to all those years of dancing, loving life so much

you could taste the night and levitate


All I ever wanted was

to shakedown through Samson’s court

past Delilah’s wrath and shine on

with love lights beaming bright,

but I was love’s fool – Alexander the unGreat,

Minimus Aurelius – the stumbling louse

and you,

the Scottish bard

with unchained song birds in your heart

and all the world’s beauty in your hands:

the sun rising,

moon shining,

the bee fleeing its nest








Frank Messina is a poet, actor and artist. He is the author of four books of poetry including Full Count: The Book of Mets Poetry, and Disorderly Conduct. Messina’s poetry has been featured in The New York Times, Beloit Poetry Journal, Sports Illustrated, Ground Zero: New Yorkers Respond, Oxford Magazine, The Paterson Literary Review and on FOX News, PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and The CBS Early Show.


His baseball poems have been featured on the Jimmy Kimmel Live and SNY-TV’s Mets Weekly, where Messina’s Mets-related verse is set to the visual backdrop of glorious (and not so glorious) moments in Mets history. As a result, sports fans around the world refer to Messina as « The Mets Poet ».


Messina has appeared on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. He currently serves as an Artistic Advisor to the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence Project of Orlando Florida and lives in Jersey City, NJ.



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