top of page



I’m thinking the opposite of / presence / is self-doubt / or maybe / it’s just thinking / which I suppose / for me / is the same thing.

Lately / I’ve been relying on music to keep me present / Music usually puts me in the past / or puts me in the future / I imagine what that looks like / considering the past.

Frank Serpico was a New York City cop who exposed corruption among New York City cops / He was shot in the face—they suppose by New York City cops—in a building on Driggs / called Novelty Court / and when he lived / he knew / he couldn’t / be there anymore / He moved to Switzerland / He became a Buddhist / His name became a movie / He was played by Al Pacino.

Frank Serpico lives in the woods now / He has PTSD / He turned his nightstick into a bell / It could have been / a wind chime / which I suppose / is a bell.

The bell / according to Buddhists and the creator of the Sopranos / is a reminder to / be here now / And I suppose / a wind chime is a reminder that / the wind is here now.

The wind / according to the Ojibwe and the creator of the Sopranos / is what carries the man of self-pity across the sky / which I suppose means / it’s a reminder of his time and place / which I suppose means / it means / the same thing as / be here now

When Pacino asked Serpico why he did the right thing, Frank Serpico said / “If I didn’t, who would I be when I listened to a piece of music?”



I am dressed just a little too warm

to be cold

which is to say

27 years of underdressing for the weather

and the one rainy night I wanted to shiver,

I finally managed to do something right

and them’s the breaks

I am thinking about Easter

and Christmas

and the striking similarity of the differences

between the two

and I am thinking about devoting my life

to further compiling evidence for Alanis Morissette,

should she need it

to commemorate the silver anniversary

of her 1995 song

(1996 hit single)


because yes, I look for signs

and, yes, my iPhone just then changed “devoting my life”

to “decoding my life”

but I already tried that

and I couldn’t crack the cipher

did you know “Ironic”

was unseated from its six-week stint as Canada’s favorite song

by the BoDeans’ “Closer to Free”

a song which features heavily in the early Judd Apatow classic Heavyweights

and that Heavyweights is my favorite movie?

I have never been to Canada

but I’m doing what I can here



I can never remember

who “Chelsea Hotel No. 2” is about —

only that Leonard Cohen

wanted us to forget

he ever told us.

Sometimes I tack on


L. Cohen”

to the end of that song

forgetting that’s an ending to a different song —

and perhaps forgetting

that “Chelsea Hotel No. 2”

will never end

for me —

haunted by memory

by sweetness

by a moment of glory for the “ones like us”

Without fail

I always give thought

to Leonard’s choice to call himself

“L. Cohen”.

I feel like my name is

not cool enough? not serious enough? too me?

to go all first initial, last name,

but then again

as L. once said,

“well, nevermind

we are ugly

but we have the music”

And I suppose I can try

because confidence is just a state of mind

and yet is all that is required

to do anything —

even to forget

but anyway

“Chelsea Hotel No. 2”

is about Janis Joplin

and I’m sorry —

L. didn’t want me to tell you that.



Nick Riccardo (he/him) is a writer living in New York City. His work has appeared in Maudlin House, the New York Times' Metropolitan Diary, and How Pants Work. Twitter + Instagram.

bottom of page