Weather or not

I saw a man this morning
wearing a misshapen ski-mask
like a Lucien Freud in plimsoles and pain
it’s been so cold.

As hard as one tries
the subject of weather
is impossible to avoid.
One of the things I imagined about coming to America
was leaving behind the meaningless daily chatter
which the English use as a substitute for friendship.

The irony is that the English don’t have weather
while here in New York there’s plenty.
But there was supposed to be a storm and there wasn’t one.
And I realize that almost always
when they say there’s bad weather coming there isn’t.
And I’m thinking that these advisories
and warnings and watches
are the latest of ploys the TV stations have come up with.

In that old whore’s discussion
between advertising and editorial
the manufacturers of cold remedies
of four wheel drive vehicles
have found a new wrinkle
for with the word of some awful Nor’easter
comes the urge to wake up early
and watch the breakfast television;
an activity normally taboo in this household.

[Queens, NY – January 1993]


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