I must have still been in high school when I found this piggy bank in a thrift store way out in Berlin, NJ — a city not nearly as exciting as its name would suggest. For some reason, I’ve been oddly attached to it for as long as I could remember, even making some efforts to “restore” it way back when I wanted to go into art restoration as a career path.

Considering I can’t tell which flowers and leaves I painted on anymore means I must have done better than this guy.

About four or five years ago, I was living in East Harlem in one of the tiniest rooms in an apartment that faced inwards on what I liked to call a “courtyard,” but was really just the shaftway where we kept the trash, recycling, and the loud echoes of families watching TV at night. I spent a lot of time in my room here in between jobs and, at the time, a few poetry classes.

At some point, I was having a hard time completing anything I was writing. I had no problem coming up with short and sweet snippets, but nothing fully fleshed out. Eventually, I gave in and started writing these snippets down on scraps of paper that I would then fold and place into my piggy bank for later.

In a bout of curiosity the other day, I opened up my piggy bank and read through all of these little scraps. They didn’t quite work to piece together a large, cut-and-paste style poem, but it was fun to unfold each little scrap and remember exactly where I was at the moment I wrote it. Like my favorite two little snippets that I think work pretty well together (and are a quite an accurate summary of my time in that apartment).

singing pop songs
to roaches in the

the neighborhood comes
and goes

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