Saturday, September 8, 2012


The 97th street gate, portals to the scraping underbelly of the beast. We’re just fleas, sittin’ up at the counter, sittin’ up at the bar, ready to eat. Gateway to out of control, Grand Central, the zoo you can’t look at but only see to. “Yo, whas up? Whas up?” She can’t hardly perch on them heels down skeleton row on her way to 110th Street, crackling commuter trestles, tombs, an end to torment. (That other junkie crying: her black-eyed boyfriend ex-Hell’s Angel puts a silver bullet in her handbag and stomps away in slow motion. Not getting’ whatever it was ‘at she was pleading to get she calls him back with, “Hey! Fuckface!”)
 I’m beginning to feel awkwardly alone all these transitory days long. The waiter hates me writing on his counter, pushes coffee, confused pancakes in my direction. Back o’ the border, falling off a’ their fork before reaching my mouth. Nodding on the platform. “Do you know what time it is?” Stares. “Do you?” Salsa, soul, salsa, soul.

Anyway, she was teetering up by the playground through the George Washington houses. He let her go like a stage mother shoves her little girl out in front of a blind audience, pushing her into that spotlight, the sun, in 95˚ humidity, as if shorts were really the answer to those legs with barely enough fat on ‘em to keep the bruises blue. De rigueur to ask for clean silverware here. Obligatory map of Greece. No second cup a’ coffee unless yas ask.

In comes a white “HOLLYWOOD” visor. You don’t even know where she’s goin’. “Yo.” There comes another. “Whas up? Whas up?” A rolled up newspaper cradle. Then a scuffed-up bike accident loser slumps on a stool too. Her boyfriend? “Gone,” she says—pregnant pause—“long gone.”

Walkin’ in circles. It all stops if there’s a cop stationed on the corner. “You can’t touch this.” Sleeping so huddled up for it, can only go with a nod, like last Christmas and the icicles pointing down from under the trestles at what used to be Park Ave. like the subway’s frozen teeth—commuter train—they all correct me. Seriously too cold to get mugged. Ye olde el.

Whatever it is that’s your mission you go on, you don’t just lie down and die, do ya? You put on your makeup and sway off across the borough, the bird that kept on fallin’ off a’ the wire and getting’ back up on it. You listen to so many stupid conversations about the same damn bullshit you get a little too eager to speak your mind. You left off the bra, got out the tank top, climbed up on them shoes and did what you had to do.

She might even climb up that steep slope just for the pleasure of being stared at, to say that she had done it once outside of the subway—anyhow it always ends in a fight, getting’ yourself thrown out, like you like it like that. While I go racin’ up outta that tunnel and into the blue December-light smear of the hazy day over Harlem. I go up like a shot light bulb, browned out in a power surge to a blazing new home. I call, but ain’t got no.

Never even saw 111th street; is that fair?

Feelin’ so alone to be jes doin’ all these things I done so many other times before.



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