Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Poem in which Longinus and I meet halfway

I am sitting with some chicken, soggy fries and

a hefeweizen I have just begun to enjoy

and I know I have missed too many nights like this.

I’m in my boxers at the kitchen table

in November with the windows open and

the landlord’s heat turned so high I almost feel like

summer—the back porch of Marisia’s third floor apartment—

the best view in all of Binghamton I always thought,

though you could only see the state building against

the mountains and some blinking radio tower lights.

But that was all it took, because though I never said it

Binghamton was an ugly place, but that view was

sublime. Because what do absolutes matter?

when you speak of transport,

only context does. And that view was beautiful.




for the proper formatting of this poem...click here

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Brooklyn Tenebre
My soul is an empty carousel at sunset.
~Pablo Neruda

De railroad bridge's
A sad song in de air.

~Langston Hughes

We left behind some lonely women there.
Our mix tapes, backpacks and Toyota used to carve
a Delphic triangle in the East:
Leesburg—BinghamtonBrooklyn
smoking shit-on-a-stick cigars from the last 7-Eleven
at the edge of Virginia in the station wagon
we were hungry, dead, buried alive in blankets,
the heater broken.

We hammered through the mountains into Binghamton,
arriving with the season’s second snow, drinking rum all the way.
There our good friends showed us hunched brown houses where
music poured from trim and rusty hinges.
There John Cage spoke prophetically to me from the buzzing silence,
the hum of heart and nervous system:
Your are here for a while
but still there is Brooklyn
always. Brooklyn.
Cease your staring:
the cicada song of window blinds
will rob your soul.

Late afternoon on Saturday we left and entered New York City
boroughs labeled like the books of the Apocrypha
inching traffic jammed the brimming tunnels
veined into the city and awash with fumes
as if a mechanical island-palm held up this five fingered civilization.
We traveled up the index finger.
There we found Brooklyn, brownstoned and Bridged
hoary like the beard of great Whitman
whom we saw selling gold Rolex on the street corner.
Poetry will fall on hard times, now and then, he said.
But we avoided his hobo advice
and slid along the El with his late night brothers
into the center of that beating hand—
Ah God, Times Square could be the second coming of Christ!
Hassidic Jews clamoring, proclaiming! Vendors vending!
Citizens running! I heard America singing
each to each, a primitive song, harmonized ambiguity
and we like prophets for a burning truth
ashed as cigarettes would into the wind of voices:
a great religious crash.

We gathered ourselves Sunday morning with a quiet breakfast.
We thought to venture out once more from Brooklyn.
The city was asleep.
We lingered over streets and ate two hot dogs each.
I abandoned my journal to the sidewalk sea
and we slipped out from the city in the dipping sun
to drive back to things that drove us out before.