The dawn, drawing itself up
the brick wall, begins conjuring
graffiti out of the dark that bore it.
A blocky weave of leaning letters,
bursting with blood orange arrows,
shock red spikes, and vampire violet
stars, it explodes outwards in 3-D,
like an organ ripped from a feverish body
and smashed against these grimy bricks.
A memorial, perhaps, for an urban crime,
bubblegum pink petalled flowers
are springing up in and around
the drippy gold and copper tags
thrown there by Lil Dash’s crew :
“I wuz here. I wuz here. I wuz here.”
WHAT BROUGHT ME TO POETRY? DESIRE
My roommate’s for her Classics professor,
Sam Miller. After class, they discuss the orgy.
Lynn leans over coffee-stained desks,
sylphlike sway of her blond shoulder-
lengths of hair,
as they analyze Aristophanes’ belching
and farting sequences. Sam’s research interest:
imagining the caress of an indolent slave.
Lynn’s the tickle of an ostrich feather
at the back of her throat. Gag reflex.
She drags me along, virginal companion,
to his East Village flat, to meet
his wife who hovers, a suspicious Hera,
pinching out our candles, as waxy drops
slide down each slippery stick.
Beneath the last, flickering halo,
I feign sleep, stowed away on a folding cot,
amid toppling piles of Greek tragedies.
Lynn tokes grass. Conspicuously
choking as if on a small bone,
she solo dances, smoothing her limpid,
silk negligee to cling like second skin.
Making small, reassuring adjustments,
she pats down raw panels of futuristic blue
over breastbone, erect nipples.
Fingered by moonlight, fat-bellied Sam
comes creeping past a hallway poster
of Janis Joplin who screams, “Come On, Come On”
like a Fury blossoming from a humid wall.
In the blare of a naked light bulb,
the lovers’ shadows sweep over my tingling skin,
merging to form a hermaphroditic giant
who vanishes into the psychotropics of a Nile green
bathroom with a sink in a low-lying counter
and a sliding dead-bolt to secure the door.
I splay open books, some pristine,
some dog-eared, some bandaged with tape,
lazing about me on their demotic backs.
Grabbing the sewn spine of one that flops shut,
my fingertips, trembling like an initiate’s,
begin to stroke the grainy hide
of a slaughtered calf, tooled with golden tattoos
like the flanks of a Nubian concubine,
that bears this stamp: Songs of Innocence
and of Experience: Shewing the Two
Contrary States of the Human Soul
that I will dream of, in cursive fits and starts,
etching hieratic scripts
on the Empire State Building all night long.