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Merry Fortune/ Poems and Prose

Church Avenue

for Jim Carroll

I'm growing my hair now. I'm the conduit. You're the brilliant warm stranger. I want to move a single strand of hair from out your eyes, so I say "Move from out your eyes." It's put this way to show you my genuine error, like a mirror.

Turning pages you're strangely absent from where I thought you were.

Your pale blue 69 rpm voice is and makes an occasional appearance for the deeper shades of shadow in my rem.

I'm watching what you wanted me to watch. I wanted you to watch me. Same thing.

It's in the meanwhile of these facts and ripping through excess life bloods red rarefied blank spaces like a box of stains caught setting tables wearing white cotton clothes. Someday I will pick a child wash its face while really running water and sing from my belly all the time.

Right now and out of place, some kind of earthbound sun's got into my eyes. I'm busy carefully stepping over some greying violet road-kill guided by endless saviors imagining wanting you to watch me. Respond by ignoring everything. This is my landing security, just like my needs. I mean knees.


Crossing the street biting your neck hard with precision.
The oncoming cars could care less if we move out of the way or not.
My eyes smear fluid the soft rough length of your arm.
Pavement black, tar, rainfall and soil.

Dreaming it had fallen into other spaces, more water is needed.
Black water bound for/by entire oceans. We can be kind in oceans.
We can float and come apart our tissues mingling with seaweeds and
kelp plants.

Trying it all falls apart. In the heat of trying it all fell apart.
Shadows drawing in the headlights of a sudden stranger, too much
flesh between wetnesses, marooned apart on opposite sides.
In this moment I do something else. Maybe with my hands.

Trying it all falls apart. It is at this impossible distance I begin to look
for your mouth.
The light fallen into one another's spaces. I force you to look at me.
The light forces you to look at me and, I,

you've gotten over the loss of the Palisades.
Your speed is in fashion.
Your hair is combed o.k.; lights: almost on; streets: paved;

Love Poem/July 24, 1996

It's a strange day. The dogs are weird and have questions.
The owners carry lines of coke in their pockets, nostalgic.
The saw palmetto berries have disappeared from the shelves.
The young woman in the store reckons it a capital move
claims a conspiracy by the pharmaceutical industry.
Jon says let's watch Baywatch. There's gulls on.

I want your eyes on the streets of a foreign city.
Not the rest of you just your eyes.
Or maybe I only want the city. The foreigner a symbol for a stranger,
something new, like a peace rat, a rat for peace.
I wish you stayed a stranger.

I want to see you on the street so I can shred your clothes
eclipse your entire life, spew violent aphorisms
temporarily tilt you face off the earth.

"A Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus train has derailed this morning. No word on the fate of animals..."

- a female newscaster on WQXR

The view from under Louie was at best passive. I had not been able to match the sweat he had worked himself into with I as a conduit. Another kind of lazy side crept into him. "Why don't you move around, you've done this before—haven't you?...I don't were bleeding...but you said you were having your, you said you were having your period...tell me...close your legs."

I did. It felt extraordinary even without moving. Suddenly unaware mentally—physically there was no question of sensation as the sole proof of existence. And the phone rang, and it was my mother. This was the first time I had been in this apartment; I didn't know how she got the number. Her voice over the phone had come to offer me something not too good, not too reassuring, a lifetime of intrusion, pain and ill-ease that would not be taken too seriously by virtue of its commonplaceness. At the time I was not well-equipped to draw conclusions, but conclusions were all there were in the way of understanding sexual acts and desires. The conclusions of the advertisers who told you to be young and alive were not enough, the conclusions of confused nuns with a morbid set of extremes to guide them and a Dick and Jane book as a model for my alleged life, the conclusions of my peers—driven out of fear to draw their own conclusions from untouched leader nuns, and a million other moral crackpots. Conclusions, I now conclude, have nothing to do with fucking. Fucking doesn't conclude—it is. And if it isn't—neither are we.

I cracked a joke to myself—something about having the hottest Italian non-stud completely between my legs—by the balls between my legs, and possibly by some other parts too. It was just a joke I made to diffuse the darkness. I was hearing my mother's voice which suddenly took on the texture of melted steel and I promised to go home for a reason too dumb to even remember. Removing myself out from under Louie proved once and for all that education and polite society does, indeed take itself too, too seriously. My entire body was limp, and whatever was myself before Louie's entry was unrecognizable, irreversible. There was no longer such a thing as a past tense or a memory. In this current state of incredulous something I could not put into words every other motion seemed foolish and unnecessary. But I was too scared to admit this fact, at least when I was not heavily sedated. Many moments of clarity were spent uselessly, waiting for the blow.

I sat on the edge of the bed consumed with smells and sensations, receiving chills on top of chills. I put my pants on. It felt like a balloon was opening and closing down there and with each succession of spasms, I thought I would lose my mind. Louie could not believe it. He paced around the tiny attic apartment, his young Italian self completely angst ridden, reminiscent of my beautiful white dog when he waited for me to feed him or to take him for a walk. Later a mutual friend of ours would comment that—yeah, Louie was just like his German Shepherd when it came to having sex. If I had only appreciated the beauty in this simplistic analogy.

Having nothing to compare my own feelings to, and having no sense of what this feeling fulfilled could be like, I settled for what I had. My friend Carole had had a full night of love-making in the twin bed next to me. After getting dressed I hung up the phone and pinned Carole to a sunny window sill in front of the tiny attic apartment. Uncontrollably I attempted to describe what was happening between my legs and the magnitude of these never before feelings coming in waves over my body. It was not difficult, as they were occurring in the present. She said she knew.

This was the last time it was to happen this way. The discovery of the feelings in and of itself were probably the most precious and genuine emotion one could ever have. So was the way some guardian angel gave me this friend to stand in the sun with and share what I would—what I could, like I could not, with no other living thing on earth. Imagine telling mommy or daddy—shit I feel so good and all I had to do was spread my legs!! Imagine someone actually explaining to you that this is a good thing, someone taking you seriously. Admittedly I was too dumb or ruined to figure it out. Instead for the next fifteen years, the whole thing would resign me to feeling mostly like a piece of shit. No one is going to tell me this is not some kind of miscommunication, a pivotal link to understanding why this society is really fucked, and littered with more jerk-offs than even it deserves.