He needed flour, so he pawned his trumpet.
He needed salt, so he sold a pint of blood.In an alley near the market, a stockbroker bought
his wristwatch. It was raining, and the pantry roof
Had sprung a leak. He counted his loose change slowly,
standing in the shadow of a newsstand, nextTo the New York Times and the hulk of a gutted Volvo.
He read the headline. Thunder. The air tasted of gasoline.
He needed water. And olives--good black Greek ones cured
in their own oil. But where the hellCan you get such things in the middle of a war zone?
There was a remote golden color in the sky
He'd never seen there before. When the smoke cleared,
the city yielded a poisonous odor of yeast.
from Useless Virtues
Lightning Over Walgreens
A lone shopping cart’s chrome
flashes. For weeks nothing’s
changed. But now August’s fist
closes and the city
takes it on the chin. All
of us sucker-punched, down
for ten. Outside, the clerk
flicks her cigarette, coughs,
yells at the drunk pissing
into bushes behind
the dumpster. I leave my
quarter for a paper.
Front page: A tree, a noose
and no one cares waitress
pay is only two bucks
an hour. We all do what
we can. Traffic piles up.
Rain falls. The drivers stare,
wait for the light to change.