wrinkle-crackle crystal specialties

a day uptown/a night on the bowery

a day uptown

carmen singin’ the blues at the old met, sande and me makin’ out up above
she dies at the end, i think i told teach when quizzed, i took a guess
or was that the dactyl at the nat? teach was there when both met their fate
or so she would have us believe. the whitney has a ramp that goes

round      and       round                       up              

and        round        and                                        and


past all the artist’s works

or is that the guggy? i forget – teach knows all the spiral’s angles, she sez
the plaza is more an almost full-circle, or is that the wollman rink?
the carriages 
pass by both, horses don’t care where they shit.
we stay back without teach, 
play skee-ball in times square
and say hi to the pros and transvestites. melanie 
rides her roller blades
down columbus as the frozen statues go home 
to sleep above park
wearing mad ave stuff we can’t afford need or desire, our jealousy spoke

teach says an artist can live anywhere, for there is folly in holy places
and frivolity in serious domains, as well as beauty in squalor
why walk up five flights above the east village or bowery’s bowels
to write/paint/sing of despair? above  23rd or so, city’s grid takes grip
streets walk east-west north-south in 5th avenue custom suits
except for the rebel b’way and times square where the cultures meet
whatever happened to patronage? t’was a noblesse oblige at one time
now they grunt at the egalitaria of the pest, i was born in the wrong line


a night on the bowery

teacher’s down on the corner, marking papers with her cherry lip gloss
i can’t get a handle on her, never could, she never did sumthin’ for me
keats lives upstairs, too frail to emerge, coughing up sputum
there’s barb-wire wrapped around the top of his six by six room
we share the same sink, shower, toilet and towels down the hall

teach warned me, I wouldn’t hear it, johnny & i drank from the same bottle
luisa may came by and wanted to share it, she died first of thirst
we put her on a pallet, rush her downstairs, keats died of exhaustion
the morgue bus never came, i stuff them both in a dumpster out back
while richie havens sells his motherless child’s freedom on the streets

in her monestary mission, with her rosary and candles, time holds me here
feets got the travelin’ blues but my hands tie old women’s bones to my hair
we play gutter ball with crumpled village voices, ginz and tuli are the best
knocking down teach’s spindly legs, foaming lips and cast-iron gazes
while ginz mantras me at my worldly nighttime excess

cowboy bob stopped pulling strings years ago, now he sits on the curb
talkin’ to ludwig ’bout unfinished biz, “teach me ding dong school” he begs
rodney k opens a hydrant, cools the bloody night streets, bowery flooding
ghandi floats by on a raft of popsicle sticks, waving to the crowd and asks
sister theresa as she hustles tricks, “is it john or paul who is really alive?”

i make my way to bed, but dear lanlord bobby d wants his rent
can’t afford the eight-bits a day so i play dead, but he’s adamant
“get outta here ya one-kneed loser, or i’ll see you in chains, you bet”
so i stumble out back to the escape of teach’s fiery red ‘vette
hop in with her, rev out of town, she dumps me way out west

she got a job teaching frogs how to live without their legs
i tried never looking back, but visit every now and then
the whole cast play out their scenes as if i never existed
sartre asks when he sees me why i return, i nod my head
and say as I jingle my change
just keep goin’, driver, to the next no exit


4 responses

  1. redmitten

    what a trip, these two poems, this stop on the carnival ride. so good to come across another born in the wrong line.

    sherry o’keefe

    July 22, 2011 at 1:17 pm

  2. Very nice pieces. I love the language and I really do get a sense of place when reading it. Though, I would enjoy hearing you read these two pieces. Audio?

    July 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm

  3. Beautiful… I especially like this:

    teach says an artist can live anywhere, for there is folly in holy places
    and frivolity in serious domains, as well as beauty in squalor

    July 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm

  4. Lou

    I love to hear you talk about these things. You know I share your appreciation of the grit of the city, and our nostalgia is one of the things that makes us kin. And these poems are so wonderful, like Beat poetry except there is a realness and depth that surpasses.

    August 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm

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