You are getting on ok,
but your landlord is a difficult person
to arm wrestle with.

The food store near you is large
but doesn’t have grapes worth a damn,
or the toothpaste you like.

It doesn’t have faux-Italian pizzas either
as if faux-Italians are not native
to this particular region.

The police are good to you though,
and the drunk tank is roomy,
the kind of place a man can be proud to wake up in.

The kind of place you can talk to Albert,
The cop on duty, about his disrespectful kids
and failing marriage.

I finger the lined paper, picturing the two of you
on either side of the metal bars,
and wonder which one I should feel sorry for.


My friend who talks in code is on the phone
it is early morning, and he is delivering a message:

“The brown bean soup rides In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” Click, Dial tone.
He wants to meet for coffee in about twenty minutes.

And so I’m all eye rubs and slow grey sweaters.
I’m all feeding the dog and front deck cigarettes.

The sun is around but hasn’t quite committed,
she thinks the day could be good for her,

but the day picked her up late, and swears a lot.
Oh, also, the sun is a woman.

Feet plus pavement equals progress
and I stroll past newsstands and hot dog stands,

short children doing hand stands,
and short-tempered women working fruit stands.

I push the door for the coffee shop and find our usual table
My friend is absent and in his place is a note:

“In the eye of the white hurricane, signed, The Ramones”
He’s in the bathroom, he’ll be back in a couple minutes.