I see Eliot banking his way towards work
in the underground tube,
see his clothes, his hair, how it all suited him.
A “subtle conformist,” Williams called him.
He sees currency moving in utter stillness–
I hear him saying It is not a problem to be solved
and living with it. In Boston
my best friend, my memory of him, measures
the Numorphan in the void
of his cleaned-again needle.
“It’s synthetic morphine,” he says. “Here they call it
new blues.” He draws the blood
up into the new blue, boots it a few times,
lets himself have it, then sinks back, mated
for the night Mississippi still has
on the doors of its motels by the bay.
from The Sorrow of Architecture, Dragon Gate
Dressed in an old coat I lumber
Down a street in the East Village, time itself
Whistling up my ass and looking to punish me
For all the undone business I have walked away from,
And I think I might have stayed
In that last tower by the ocean,
The one I built with my hands and furnished
Using funds that came to me at nightfall, in a windfall. . .
Just ahead of me, under the telephone wires
On this long lane of troubles, I notice a gathering
Of viciously insane criminals
I’ll have to pass
Getting to the end of this long block of eternity.
There’s nothing between us. Good
Thing I look so dangerous in this coat.
from American Prodigal, Storyline Press