two poems 75th street and 78th street

It was a strange weekend, here are two poems about my weekend. There are more coming from this series. We started out on 75th street and made some stops on the way until we hit 173rd around midnight.



75th Street

my wife and I go day-drinking
in the city on a Saturday
and wind up in a bar that has a TV movie
on in the corner, but the sound down

there is also candy at the bar, so we are eating
Reese’s buttercups and Almond Joys for lunch
like adults

I point at the juke box and say, ‘Last time I was in here
there were these Portuguese exchange students
and they kept giving me quarters
and had me picking all the songs for them, so know what I did?’

‘you played all the long long songs and kept their quarters
when they got tired of listening to this is the end my only friend,
this is the end
and finally left, thinking
America officially sucks, America is depressing …’

‘How’d you know that?’

‘You tell me that story every time we’re drunk here’

‘All coming back to me now’
there are board games in the corner too
but all the pieces are missing, so if you go to play
Clue, the weapons are missing and half
of Mrs. Peacock has been ripped off, the rest is sticky

the bartender suddenly does something
to the TV and there is noise now

and there is flashing

Horses.
Horses on the TV. And bright banners and jockies.
‘Oh look at this! The Belmont Stakes!’

‘So?’

‘So, we actually have money on this race
—guy at work put it in. Twenty bucks.’

My wife leans forward in her chair

I squint at the TV, ‘Number 5 horse, American Pharaoh.’

The race starts and everybody stops eating candy
and stops losing pieces to Jenga and to Monopoly
and they stare at the TV, and they cheer
as the horses launch out of the gate

I can’t believe that our horse is in the lead
and stays in the lead the whole time

“WE WON!!!!” my wife yells

“WE DID!!!”

“WHAT’D WE WIN!!!!”

I take my phone out and look at what the odds
are paying out from the post

we bet something called a superfecta
and I don’t understand superfecta
just like I don’t understand:

mercury in retrograde
pheromones
active listening
rechargeable batteries
spandex-bicycle-people
compound interest
trumpet
but then I see the payout
‘WE WON $8.50!!!’
I open an Almond Joy
she opens a Clark bar
we bite into the candy

‘How did you know the kids were from Portugal?’
‘They all had on shirts that said Portugal on them’
‘Dead giveaway.’ She sips her beer, ‘Would you wear
a shirt that said America on it in Portugal?’
‘Send me to Portugal, I’ll wear whatever’

the channel is flipped
back to the TV movie
there is smoke now in the TV movie, pink smoke
and someone singing a love song

in a cemetery I think

it gets cooler though
when the lion leaps into the frame.


78th Street

I’m embarrassed of the T-shirt I have on
it’s the crappiest T-shirt I own
black pocket t, too short, belly almost out
the sun dips behind a building
in the shadow my wife takes my hand

and I remember when she used to smoke
American Spirit cigarettes and  I used
to run every night across the bridge
listening to my headphones
we were assholes then
I like us better now

at the intersection
there is a beautiful couple
she is in a green dress, tall
blonde, leaning on him
and he is in a black polo shirt
with aviators and $400 shoes
they are walking two beautiful dogs too
fuck them all, I just had
candy bar lunch at Dive 75
and they look they’re on the way to
eat oysters and—wait, the light
has changed and they are crossing

but the girl in the green dress
looks suddenly wobbly
and ah shit—there she goes
down in the middle of the intersection
and she’s lying on her back
the dogs gathered around her
sniffing at their mother
blonde hair covering her face
her legs are bleeding

my wife grabs the girl’s purse
she stands there holding the purse
and the man in the black polo
is crouching down and saying
‘honey honey honey, get up …’
the dogs think it’s play time
but the girl’s eyes are flickering
and then I see the man in the polo
wobble and almost fall off his knees
he’s fucked up too!

right now my wife and I
are the most sober people on
78th street

my wife sets the purse down
I pull the girl to her feet
everything is fine

I take my wife’s hand and we walk
two blocks up and sit on
a park bench

we have organized
our Saturday
so that we can just sit on park benches
or not sit on park benches
whatever happens

a few minutes later
the beautiful-fucked-up couple
come stumbling up the sidewalk
‘heroin, probably’
‘rich people do heroin?’
‘oh yeah, most def’
‘never knew that’
‘well I’m not positive it’s heroin’
‘I’d say it’s a great guess though’
‘do people still do morphine?’

the girl’s legs are bleeding more now
the blood is thin
and coming down fast
‘ah shit, those are nice shoes’
‘that’s like a $700 purse’
she hikes her dress
up around her waist
she’s got no underwear on

black polo man sees, he doesn’t care
the dogs don’t care
me and my wife kinda care

when she passes us
we take a look at her bare ass
as they turn the corner and walk
away up 81st street

drops of blood
right there on the sidewalk
in front of us

look like cherry ice slush stain
from the ice cream man
parked up the block

and all the people coming
up the block now
think that’s what it is

no big deal
people miss what they miss
my wife and I kick our feet

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3 Replies to “two poems 75th street and 78th street”

  1. Hi! Call me backward, delayed reaction or somethin but I got stuck up reading and gigling to your 75th and 78th poems. What the heck is this? I thought and then remembered that I’m in your poorly thought of thoughts… hmmm,,, it’s Sunday afternoon having a minimal brunch so I keep on reading but I guess I still didn’t reach to 175th street… where is it?

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