I’m wearing my don’t talk to me face and it’s working good
like I’m invisible amongst the dead and all the others
who are paralyzed here and born-again
walking out through the river of this single Central Park.
There are silent Japanese, devotional in close-collared white shirts.
Ten thousand sailors shoving each other like they know something.
A small girl crying in a stroller with orange hair
a bitten pretzel bigger than her face.
Sketch artists with their pictures of Jesus in charcoal
when all along the real guy is sat beside them on a bench
burnt to the mahogany that only comes when the tree’s cut down.
Kids are blading, high on crack or love maybe
dreaming about their favorite shirts and about the way all this hair
just keeps growing and growing, boys and girls both.
An enormous imbecile stutters by on pigeon-toes
looking like a text-book for medical students studying the thyroid.
His eyes are doing that rarely seen thing;
literally bulging out of his head.
From the side he looks like a cartoon you could never watch
and he’s mumbling loud, saying things like
“….the onion-man he’s all inside me
and he can’t ever stop crying ever…. ”.
A guy who’s crouching down on his haunches
like he’s a Hindu when he’s not
snaps a hand through the railings
of this low fence and strangles a squirrel
I mean actually strangles it
right there and nobody says a word.
A woman who probably lives in Riverdale or Canarsie
is thinking she’s really some kind of Pharaoh Queen
strolling about in plastic shoes by mistake.
She’s got a scarab badly drawn in turquoise face-paint on her forehead
and a nose stud you just want to pull out
because that’s how she makes you feel.
A cop with bad teeth is chewing tobacco
or something else that makes him spit
and he’s got this three-dollar smile when he does it which says
go ahead, take my fucking number, see what it’ll do.
“I’m smoking, I’m really smoking a lot
and I’ve got that taste back in my mouth again Charlie.”
This is what an old woman (who really is smoking)
says to the guy who’s walking next to her.
He doesn’t even look her way.
Just keeps moving forward on hips that can hardly hold him
concentrating on making his next step.
You can see he’s thinking that if she doesn’t just shut up
he’s going to leave her for good this time.
Jesus. Forty-three years of having to listen about her weird mouth.
A little bearded guy, he’s maybe four ten
starts running along beside me to keep up.
He’s showing me this bag with some grass inside
about two bucks worth.
“Look, I just need two bucks to get home
is all I need and this is worth two bucks, isn’t it? ”
I ask him if he can break a five and he says sure
but as he says it he realizes he just blew his shtick
and the sale also.
“Fuck you, funny guy,” he says
but I’m not laughing, I’m walking.
I’m thinking of taking a girl I’ve met to pieces completely
of putting her back together again
here in the middle of New York on this soft polluted ground.
I’m thinking of her eyes rolling back into her head
and the thick scratches, the ribbons and medals, she puts across me.
Each one like salt inside.
I’m thinking of wrists well-tied.
Of pouring Sapporo all over until her skin’s drunk.
Of white-trash lovesongs and the dark gone down.
Of making love.