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For Blaise Cendrars

It is not so far. Three states, a hundred miles,
Two hours.

Like changing cars in the middle of a trip:
Nothing more than that, nothing
More serious

Just to stand here
With a wife and a child of five years
Another woman in London (yes, Blaise,
We are very far from there; yes,
Jeanne, very far)
Whose belly would heave with my child
And one here whose
Won't, one with a still, flat belly

Falling away as I come into the street...

Young Negroes rustle cabs by the handle
For me
Follow one, running, down the block
Pull it down before me on the street
It exhudes a smell or urine or resignation

Again I am in the middle of a trip
Again I am changing cars

And here I am in my scattered bags
In a taxi
The words Port and Authority not wasted on me
Nor Terminal
Crouched in the antique doorway: yes, I know
On the sill
Like a moth, waiting

No, Chris, you won't be able to understand
Or even finally stand it
"Tell me, Jim "
One cannot escape those implications

National Academy of Artists in Watercolor
(above the aluminum front of a travel agent in London)

That quiet, violent man knew it
He talked to a sleeping girl and told her
As I to an absent one now
Saying I was afraid, I couldn't
Go to the end
He was a bad poet returning to Paris
With fire and a little girl from Montmartre
He would like this city now
Where he wrote an Easter poem once
Nothing human was foreign to him
I've learned some stories, black as the paint
On the fire escape outside my window here
And they would appear in a book with his poems
I think we might have talked and got on
But I could pass him on the street
And never know, I would think: he belongs here

    Being Demolished
    Starring S&M Demolition Company
    an S&M Production
    Get Your Free Tickets Inside

The urge is to speak French, grope
For words in Spanish
This is the name for that
This is the way you ask for something
And I only understand part of it
Myself

I have established myself at the nearest bar
Order beer and leave large tips
Send flowers to the landlady
Uptown Negroes, queens, prostitutes
Around me on the street, walking home late

On the underground with Mike in his British accent
A young girl suffered seven years from a toy chair in her lung
In my furnished apartment I think of Thoreau
Or Tom last year in London:
Learning to put distress signals in code

  I won't allow newspapers in the flat
I burned the last ones you brought
I wanted to tear them to shreds, open my window, I didn't
Afraid to go all the way
Like you, but for different reasons
And a bad poet too, si mauvaise
I think we could have talked and got along here
Sitting in the hips of these two cities
Two cowboys
Dan Yack and all the gold gone
All our money in the rum trade
Salvation between the legs of women

You wonder where your hand is
Little Jeanne asks, "Tell me, Blaise "
We are both bad poets
We are both at the end, different ends
Or an edge
Nos dames naked and mad and upside-down in ruin
Renee asks, "Tell me "
And we talk, together now

My fingers rise towards the sky
Inside Orion where it blazes and burns
They touch
Your own cold hand

 

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