Philadelphia--6128 Jefferson Street Row houses, long neck boys
Guy next door in black shades,
Eyes behind those shades staring at me,
Pepper the poodle fucking my leg my first day there
Cousin Bill drunk drunk drunk,
His wife Lucy old and man weary.
A fat ass next door making his bed springs cry
Every time he farts, so close are the houses.
Cars everywhere, turning streets into cholesterol choked veins.
The living room of 6128 Jefferson--French Provincial covered in plastic laminate.
I asked Lucy how many quarters did she
Put in the laminate machine to get all that transparent stuff for her couch.
Bill drunk as a skunk. The dog pisses on his pillow.
Lucy's Brother Mayo pushing his false uppers
Back into his upper gum.
The liberty bell is cracked.
Scrawny Park service guy gives me some bullshit
About some structural problem with the bell
But I know ol' Liberty got cracked when
Bull Connor dropped it on some poor Negroes’ head.
Arch Street--Tall boy zippered in spandex wants me.
I check out the hole he's dived into.
It's a black hole. I move on.
Subway full of white negro men in Business suits
Grim thin lips locked tight
Calling me nigger with their eyes.
Germantown Street on the hot trolley
Five funeral homes in a row full of ribs
Five barbecue pits across the road
Tended by fine young cannibals cooking breast bones
The projects rise like broken bones toward mars
Everything is brown in Philadelphia
Even the boy next door who spoke as I was
Getting in the car to head back to Houston.
I had the same luck with the lottery
I missed winning seven dollars by one number
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Herds of humanity
Graze on street corner slop and ride in the bellies
Of silver worms beneath city gutters
Street people are ragged and unfashionably stinky.
Everyone else is fashionably ragged.
“Andy” sells me a beaded sweater
off an old lady’s dead shoulders.
A roguish Puerto Rican painter copies
A Robert Colescott painting as his own black creation.
Got all dressed up to go to the theatre in Harlem.
Got there stinky and hot--Harlem,
Who bombed it?
Noise all night long in Brooklyn.
No ugly people live in New York
Everyone is Cafe' au lait. Tall boy with five inch hair
Sits wide legged on the sub in baggy trousers.
His throat is stiff with defiance, But his dark
Eyes linger in mine for a moment.
Everything is for sale in New York
Even a hug from daddy long legs.