Saturday, June 2, 2012
SOMEWHERE A BALANCE
Many years ago,
for many years
thereafter, I'd travel
to those areas of grief
and misery and dreams
that only tease,
for three or four hours
at a time. Usually,
they were black areas
or Puerto Rican spots--
later Dominican, Haitian,
Mexican--and all had common tells:
gnawed chicken bones, ribs, bottles,
trash, tenements, fishbowl apartment windows
with the fat arms of old ladies watching
the show. I'd wait on corners
or on cop lines
being herded by thirteen year old'
who told us we better have our money straight
or get the fuck off the line.
I'd go into abandoned buildings,
up decayed flights of stairs lit
only by candles, with hundreds of others
full of need and desperation; or extend my hand
with the correct amount of money
through a hole in a door
or a bucket lowered from the roof
saying something like:
"4D and 2C" and wait until a hand dropped
some bags and tin foil into mine.
My bowels loosened
as I made my out and hoped
in my way.
I cannot cook a potato
or heat up a piece of fish or meat
without great anxiety. I look at the clock
as if electrocution was near, and count
Everything I do
scares the shit out of me.
I'm ready for;
it's the getting there
that I mind.
Greenwich Village, 2012