An American in London

I like to think I'd be a part of Hemingway and Fitzgerald's posse.

For Philip.

Yesterday, you lay on a bathroom floor as the sun rose over New York. Arms gone purple and sprawled on the cool tile, veins too full to push the blood now thick and cold and littered with mud. With eyes left open, your mouth hung cracked as if to speak but nothing remained. Your lips dried out. Approaching footsteps would determine your true life. Your story.

Today, your name on a moving train as the sun rises over London. Printed loudly across millions of slung and discarded papers which line the seats. Your face reflects in the blackened windows as in the eyes of strangers. Pages boast of scripts and statues. And as your children weep, the audience turns the page.

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Primrose.

The sun sets

behind the skyline

and my eyelids droop

along with it.

The grass

reflects

orange rays and

shining violets

that jerk me

awake.

Only minutes from home

after

a day of

wondering

yet here

I sit

atop a hill in the

fading light

of day

to enter night

along

with my city.

We will watch

together

as the moon begins

to rise and

return

to our sunken

state of

slumber.

While Piccadilly

may rage,

Primrose rests.

The haunted streets

are only host

to those ghouls

who lurk

with eyes closed

to their graves.

Goodnight.

Bus. For Allen Ginsberg.

The bump-ity bump of the bus blurred my vision but

still I sang.

As the words jumped

and London sped by

in jerks

and halts

and dings,

my mouth began to move

unconscious of the page.

My hand waved,

my fist clenched,

un-clenched,

fingers wagged,

as if my body were being

possessed by the man himself

who wrote these sacred words

which fill my head now.

My glasses fog up

as the frigid winter air

swoops in to allow

passengers’ escape.

My warm breath

creating steam

which only drives me forward.

My passion grows

along with my volume

and my intoxication.

I read

and wave

and clench

and sing.

I finish the poem

and must take a breath

to relocate my body.

There is clapping,

but I look out at the

blackened streets

and signal

my departure.

I take my final

bow

into the London

night.

Age.

Girls

giggling in their

short

skirts

followed by

the eyes

of a hundred

old men

whose sad,

lonely gazes

linger

on legs

whose heart

belongs to someone

else.

Hungry

and tired

and forgotten,

they stare.

Youth

a memory.

Time

an enemy.

Rain on London.

The shallow streets,

cold

and long,

cave in around

my aching feet.

My muscles,

sore and lonely,

strain

against the angry

pavement.

Through piles

of slosh

and slop.

Leaves heavy

with rain

stick to me,

mock me,

weigh me down

like a throbbing

head filled with

thoughts

too much

to think.

Step.

Step.

Crunch.

Splash.

Throb.

A long day

leading to

a long night.

Home to a lonely

flat

which sighs

a drooping breath

as I enter.

Fall in Paris.

The gentle quiet

of a Paris night

sullied

by drops

of falling water.

Like bombs

they fall

on orange sheets

thick and course

against delicate skin.

The drops

heard only by

the whores

who stand shivering

and naked

outside

under their streetlamps.

Here,

in the claustrophobic dark,

behind a mile-thick door,

a lifetime-deep bath,

and those sorry orange sheets,

the drops remain

as quiet as the black

which encases them.

Lost

to ears which are full

of nothing

but empty words

and the memory

of feeling.

They fall.

They fall.

No warm hands to soothe them.

No soft words to stop them.

They fall.

Ugly.

I love you most when you’re ugly.

Your face twisted and melting.

Dripping with something like lust,

but eyes lost under their glaze,

tired and hungry.

Your mouth hangs open as if to speak,

but remains silent in a tortured

pain.

Or pleasure.

Or, again, hunger.

This face, in its tangled mess,

is what I love most.

For it is one meant only for me.

A face which other eyes have not seen

and which I gaze upon now

in a shared ugliness.

 

Words in time.

You left words.

Black ink, shiny and dripping

on a mirrored surface.

Behind them, more words.

Music, meaning.

A man and his thoughts,

his voice.

Scribbled in a wet mess.

Chanted in a dark room.

They meant something once.

Behind them, my own face

reflected and left staring, empty

into itself.

Is it for the words or the face

that sadness comes?

Behind them all,

a shared love.

Not a shared time.

Perhaps in years gone by,

or in many already seen,

the words would return.

More meaning. New meaning.

The face reflected, one of joy.

But the clock remains unchanged.

The calendar unmoving.

Unyielding.

The words left

under a mess of the discarded and forgotten

to collect dust.

The ink left to dry and crack.

The meaning left to die.

Time, which will also destroy them,

is all that was needed for their survival,

is all that will never be,

is all that could never be.

Mindless.

A tormented mind

artificially sweetened.

Clinging to an intoxicating emptiness.

Dizzying clarity.

Relief.

Bones, muscles drip into skin.

Nerves melt away.

Memories melt away.

Regret.

Consciousness.

Inebriated thoughts

unthought.

Fabricated bliss.

Synthetic delight.

A fa├žade.

Reality is too real.

Feelings are too real.

Mask them with a glass

and a mindless grin.

New York City.

I want to kiss New York City.

To wet my lips in the East River,

graze my tongue down Broadway,

and nibble on the Empire State Building.

I want to caress the streets of Harlem,

embrace Soho and the Battery,

and claw at Greenwich Village.

I want to be taken by New York City.

Give me a hot subway station

in the summer.

The sweaty patrons anxiously

staring down the tracks

for that moment of ecstasy

when they can finally enter

the cool breeze of the train car.

Soak in the averted gazes.

Bathe in the unshared intoxication.

I want to fall in love with New York City.

Laying in the grass of the Great Lawn

I want to feel the city love me back.

The surrounding buildings

protect and embrace me.

The screams of the taxis, declarations

of that love.

I want to feel New York City.

I want to be New York City.

Take me in, New York City.