City Notes

Family Portrait
Eight-year-old Ann-Marie drinks her milk.
The edge of morning slices through a slat
At the glasses asleep in pools of sweat.

Picking her way through stubble fields
Of a riotous night her day breaks
Into shards of sharp memories strewn
Cut, bruised, and sleeping about the flat
With mum and reveling strangers and dad.

She steps routinely over crackheads on the stairs . . .
Outside the jagged rain rips the tired day.

Huddled in the doorway she watches
Her paper boat drown in the gutter.

A Jog in the Park
The blood-eyes blank in the ski-mask slits,
A fistful of hair beneath her.
The knife on top, its tip at her tits,
Stilled even the faintest shudder.

Beyond the hedged-in grassy glade,
The birds oblivious winging,
Still on her ears her ipod played,
Her favorite song kept singing.

His smell osmosed into her soul,
Her silence rent the night!
Her God stayed hidden like a mole,
His God laughed at his might!

Can I Play Too?
Eagerly he stumps toward the jungle gym.
The smile freezes. Hurt recognizes in the giggles
Piercing familiar derisive notes, peering fingers,
Lips curling into oohs and ahs.

Shrinking from the bars into the yard
Of his solitude he contemplates
His shrunken half-made-up body
For the umpteenth time wondering.

Men with bored poles by the mucky canal
Search the sludge flotsamming past the banks
Packed with homebound crowds gathered
For a look, a laugh, and a suppertime tale.

Somewhere in the city a woman routinely
Sets the table with her children and waits…
For a grapnel to grasp her jetsamming husband
As the satisfied crowd disperses excitedly.

The Waiter’s Sub-text
I’ll be your waiter           (hurry up, please
Take your time               I’ve other folks waiting
To decide what to eat     this evening.
The fish is great              our special sauce
Its spicy tang                  sticks in your throat,
Is famous                       asshole!)

Keeping the curb with pacing passersby
They prowl their bodies rough with use
And smudged paint bored with dull anticipation.
The desultory meandering ceases.
A client slides in with practiced rhythm
Man and machine plunge to it,
Pistons chug to suck the juice fast,
End the trip, dump the rider, and return
With pocketed fare and silent meter
To stalk and hustle other cabs by the curb.

Sing a Song of Sixpence
Sing a song of sixpence,
A bottle full of rye,
At hundredandtwenty miles an hour
Someone’s bound to die.

Sing a song of sixpence,
A vial of cocaine,
Fourandtwenty babies
Born in twisting pain.

When the day is over,
There’s nothing left to sing,
Except a dirge to senselessness,
We haven’t learnt a thing.

Pursed lips lock voices stilled
By the dings and clinks of cyberchords,
The compusymphonic requiem for Gossip
Played by a hundred-piece orchestra
Of a thousand fingers conjuring information
From a netherland of flashing ciphers,
A superhighway of connecting worlds
Where screens glare back and cursers blink–
Gleeful pac-men shooting brain cells
Dead through furrowed brows.






One response to “City Notes”

  1. Ralph Avatar

    Enjoyed reading the poems. Guess I will be trying to figure the waiters subtext the next time we go out to dinner

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