by Bruce Hunter
Here on this fabulous street
west of hipster, south of money,
I am never alone. The deaf man
but not the dumb man, wired always.
My ears full of nattering microphones
and the tick of streetcars tracking by
as a crowd gathers outside
the fantastic purple walls of a night club.
But the show’s in the street
when Katie the barker yells
and a man in black leather
with a steel hook for a hand
spears an apple for his girlfriend.
Between the tattoo parlour
where the believers ink their shoulders
with minotaurs and dragons
and the window of Sister Waneita,
Reader of Stars, where a tiger tabby crouches
among the snake plants,
a man who resembles Karl Marx
stands in the road and directs traffic
and curses the buses that roar back
while Jimmy and his pal Roberto
race electric wheelchairs down
opposite sides of the street.
As the Portuguese huddle to mass
a hooker with her arm in a cast
stubs her cigarette on a hydrant
and drops into an expensive Ford.
A shirtless man driven
towards an invisible somewhere
slamdances into the crowd that parts for him
as Gibson the blind guy peddles sunglasses
and whistles at all the girls
and yells: “Baby, I can smell you’re beautiful.”
And a man with no legs
knuckles his way on a wheeled board
then tucks it and ascends the stairs
with a swagger that has legs
into the Galaxy Donut Shop
to drink with the man with no arms
who upends a cup with his teeth.
And the beautiful man who plays guitar
with a withered hand,
the women buy his poetry
as he blesses them.
On my street, the droolers laugh
at the scab-armed girl who burns herself
and she laughs back.
The cleft argue with the mute
in furious wet sputters.
When they greet you here
they peer over your smile
for your wires, your tracks,
— from Juniper Volume 1, Issue 2