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The City

Living in that sweaty, stinking arm pit
for a life time’s murder, unless you have
the financial resources and can split.
If you do, why don’t you try to do it?

I’ve looked at living stones, lingering long,
and I saw that they care about something.
They care if one of that quarry is strong,
or they care, if he has a knife, how long.

Thinking they’ve been treated by a trailer-
pulled refrigerator filled with ice cream,
their brick backs they have to send by mail or
they’ll see their imagination’s failure.

Suddenly, some Platonic headed guy
asks a prostitute to go to the park.
She gets dressed, but she can’t understand why
he’d be seen with her under the sun’s eye.

On the way, he stops to buy some tickets
for the Broadway premier of Hester Prynne’s
“Scarlet A”. And now she realizes it’s
some strange freak whose own trick tore hers to bits.

Incidents like this happen all the time
in that silly city. Do you believe
it? I, myself, don’t like it there. You see, I’m
Anti-Apathy and Anti-Street Slime.

But, as hard as it seems to conceive of,
people almost kill themselves to get there,
just to be pushed around and, then, to shove
all those rocky freaks. Seems such a strange love.

If you go there, watch a poet or two
chanting some phrases in some Far Eastern tongue.
If they start shouting these phrases at you,
you’ll melt away, you won’t know what to do.

Naturally, I think this is ignorance
that proves that you’ve kept your head locked up in
wining, dining in confining reverence
that you give the Dollar God’s existence.

Weak, you walk when you know god damned well why,
hating it, you stay amidst the odor
that’s so strong that at times it hides the sky.
It’s because you’re excited when stones die.

Still, a stinking arm pit’s what it is now,
a town in it so deep, it seems natural.
That place will never change. I can’t see how
you’d ever live without your stoned freak show.


COPYRIGHT 2000 by Michael Bonanno
LOC Reg. #TXu 934-647

Reproduction of “The City”
or any part therein
without the express written
consent of Michael Bonanno,
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                                                                                                                               (and some other assorted foolish verses)