No 83 & 84
Lost Watches & Stolen Coats
in memory of Gregory Corso
“Turn somersaults in the circus coffin”
I never ran the streets with you or bought you drinks at Vesuvio,
though I sat in your apartment once,
bore the stench of your withdrawal, sweat-drenched shirts
as you schemed for junk from neighborhood kids
who aimed to rip you off & did.
I can’t remember your hands,
just your unequal stance bent toward
unfavorable omens, ready with a quip.
You only needed kindness to give her a wicked name.
What is this flash on the firing range
among mules & mandolins?
Your whiskered face bantering over a fist of Ballantine Ale:
motley walking requiem with pugilistic brow;
punk amalgam of blood’s rancor
& Albion’s light.
They scarcely gave you a chance,
threw shoes when you sang of an erotic hydrogen bomb.
Self-proclaimed, forever unlaureled,
orphaned by woman on Bleecker Street.
She dashed for Italy; dull father stumbled on your gem.
But your new uncles at Bellevue & Clinton State Pen
eased you toward that necessary outskirt.
Villonesque jack-in-the-box in a stolen overcoat—
was it you who put a ten-spot on the chest of a sleeping alley drunk
wagering the time it would take for someone to steal it?
Your journey now: nothing to fix or score—
just brag to Virgil how you gave Charon the bird
when he reached to pluck fare from your lips
& found no coin.
Dispatched now to a baroque corridor
of lost watches & bardo gangsters in the
tenements of Hades;
no more seeking the absolving kiss
but camped with Bedouins singing jasmine & hashish,
or mussing Auden’s hair.
Ah, seraphic weasel, adamant mason of oddest phrase,
how you scolded the poets in Naropa’ s summer tent
where the sprinklers soaked our manuscripts at noon.
Was it you who lit firecrackers in the meditation hall
& filmed the havoc on super 8?
In the gray umbrage of millennial January I declare
death to Charon—the parasite!
You will finally have that felucca ride instead
through the balmy canals of your noble kin
or float on backs of terrapin—
mercurial wildcat who leapt into Kerouac’s grave,
sang “tooda-loo!” to your beloved Ginzy’s ash:
your turn to aim the prow again
toward the beacons of violet Tunis,
Botticelli,Acropolis & Sun,
unafraid of becoming the sea.
Dead & gone again to Rome
of sweet inconsequence the weather
incorrigible, red-lipped, unrotted bones:
Gregorio the herald unhated in the charnel heather.
A piece torn from Keats,
kingfish & lost mother’s feet,
Mozart your world’s final knell—
unlonely urn at Percy’s side
bedded in rose and shell.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The