I Walked

I walked the gutters
of lower manhattan
all but asleep
in another’s restless dream

I dragged a body
with dead head
and a disguise of youth
wherever I could not think

I lived full and alone
in anguished biology
seeing a segmented world
through nothing but eyes

Never hit by grace
I survived by history
my feet were a fated pair
I stayed still without knowing

The air was always dark
The air was mostly always wet
Such big visitors
talking talkers on all sides

I finally escaped
I did it in time
So much sugar in my blood
what a watch to be!

My

my depressive’s bed
my patience bed

my square set face
my frog-built head

my block river-view
my periscopic blade

my beast-ish neglect
my pre-dawn &

my neurological fade

my gullible maps
my flat ephemera

my metrics test
my terse america

my strophic voice
my pre-verbal chest

my furtive _____
my hollow &

my over-night best

my sinching try
my stirrupped thighs

my fetal naught
my restless size

my erring pride
my post-nature stroll

my famished respite
my be-numbed &

eponymous role

It Is There That I Take It Easy

For them, from there after
Grand, and I take it easy.

When asked why and what for,
it is there, that I take it easy:

For singing elegiac parvenus
—Eldridge Street,

For branded pungent leather crowns
—Orchard Street,

For salted tongueside abuelitas
—Ridge Street,

For tough hewn white hoods
—Henry Street,

For black laden day workers
—Cherry Street,

For tic-tac-toe bowler poetry
—Mott Street,

For domino table plot merchants
—Rivington Street,

For cookie cheering bursting babies
—Hester Street,

For them, from there after
Grand, and I take it easy.

When asked why and what for,
it is there, that I take it easy:

For the iron crossing cages
see-sawing Ludlow,

For the barrel balling blue
sweating Essex,

For the fabric bet hedging stacks
layering Allen,

For the hot shoe hole glue
sticking Chrystie,

For the rising fall dancers
mounting Canal,

For the murdered mind murals
fading Pitt,

For the paved metallic mesh
fencing Madison,

For the library lean messiahs
haunting Jefferson,

For them, from there after
Grand, and I take it easy.

When asked why and what for,
it is there, that I take it easy:

For adapting a son of a
moyle—one,

For can-wearing cards, copper
cushions—four,

For our extended family on an
idea—six,

For a lot of spearmint green
silver—ten,

For bed guards up like dental guards
at ten,

For the survivor, her daughter,
her sister—fourteen,

For head-shaken two-door
floor inventions—fifteen,

For a stripling under Eastern dreamways
of cloud—twenty,

For them, from thereafter;
Grand and I, we take it easy.

The Bench

1.

Ayn Rand
and Babe Ruth,

on a city bench,
outside the park,
just before fall.

Ayn says
to Babe,
“you got a funny
name, Babe.”

Babe responds
to Ayn,
“All names are
funny, Ayn.”

Ayn replies
to Babe,
“Not all names,
Babe.”

Babe smiles
at Ayn,
“Maybe not Ayn,
maybe not.”

2.

Charlie Parker
and Modigliani,

on a city bench,
outside the park,
just before fall.

Charlie says
to Modigliani,
“Say Mo’,
how do I look
to you?”

Modigliani responds
to Charlie,
“How do I look
to you?”

Chalie replies
to Modigliani,
“How I look
to you?”

Modigliani looks
at Charlie,
“I love Salt Peanuts.”

3.

Woody Guthrie
and Chahlie Chaplin,

on a city bench,
outside the park,
just before fall.

Woody says
to Chahlie,
“I just can’t
understand that
moustache.”

Chahlie answers
to Woody,
“I just can’t
understand that
guitar.”

Woody responds
to Chahlie,
“It’s how I save my
dinner crumbs.”

Chahlie sniffing
at Woody,
“It’s from smelling
so many bums.”

4.

Gary Snyder
and Moses Malone,

on a city bench,
outside the park,
just before fall.

Gary says
to Moses,
something.

Moses answers
Gary
nothing.

Gary responds
to Moses,
a turning.

Moses goggles
Gary,
adjusting.

5.

Lucille Ball
and Emma Goldman,

on a city bench,
outside the park,
just before fall.

Lucy asks
Emma
for a cigarette
or two.

Emma claims
to Lucy,
“she’s left her purse
on the trolley.”

Lucy nods
easily to Emma,
“I just found some,
join me?”

Emma exhales
towards Lucy,
“A hartziken dank,
mameleh!”

6.

Joseph Cotten
and Muddy Waters,

on a city bench,
outside the park,
just before fall.

Joseph says
to Muddy,
“Who’s your tailor,
Muddy?”

Muddy responds
to Joseph,
“Over there,
over on Michigan.”

Joseph asks
Muddy,
“Did you ever
play with Charley?”

Muddy shrugs
at Joseph,
“Yeah, a couple-o’
times.”

7.

The Mighty Herakles
and tattooed Popeye,

on a city bench,
outside the park,
just before fall.

The Mighty Herakles asks
tattooed Popeye
for a bit
of Spinach.

Tattooed Popeye points
above The Mighty Herakles,
“Let me check
my pants, Mitey Hoicules.”

The Mighty Herakles warms
towards tattooed Popeye,
“Don’t I know you,
Sailor?”

Tattoed Popeye snorts
at The Mighty Herakles,
“Before me accidence,
I used to offiskiate
for a group of poets.”

8.

Hank Aaron
and Henry Roth,

on a city bench,
outside the park,
just before fall.

Hank says
to Henry,
“Anyone ever
call you Hank?”

Henry says
to Hank,
“Sure,
when I was a kid.”

Hank says
to Henry,
“They called me Henry,
when I was a kid.”

Henry’s laugh stifles
hearing Hank,
“Sounds about right,
Henry.”

9.

Charles S. Pearce
and Geronimo,

on a city bench,
outside the park,
just before fall.

Charles S. Pearce
reluctantly prods
Geronimo,
“What’s your
favorite number?”

Geronimo acknowledges,
and saying after
to Charles S. Pearce,
“I’ve always liked
the number ten.”

Charles S. Pearce reddens
at the reply of Geronimo,
stretches his fingers,
cracks his toes.

Geronimo adds
to Charles S. Pearce,
“I like nine,
too.”

10.

Sholem Rabinovich
and Bob Dylan,

on a city bench,
outside the park,
just before fall.

Sholem says
to Bob,
“I admire your character.”

Bob is solemn
to Sholem,
“Henry Fonda?”

Sholem dissents
with “ts-ts’s” at Bob,
“This one, without
the horse!”

Bob looks back
slowly at Sholem,
“But Sholem, the horse is yours!”