I was so damned surprised
to find Lou Reed leaning on the lamppost,
I forgot I was carrying a bag of apples.
They fell and he laughed, à basso.
When I could tear myself away
from his saucer-eyes,
I realized two things:
we were so close, our toes were touching,
and Jim Carroll was standing beside me,
looking up at the flickering light.
An old New York was floating
like a proscenium in a school play
and the two men were chanting
while I watched smoke and buildings rise.
It was a greasy dust –
like modern tar pits.
Lou was humming
and Jim gave the words
– like a filthy epitaph for a quickie
against a brick wall
‘those were the days her thighs gave way…’
and I was her
and I couldn’t stand
so I leaned on Jim
but he was so slight and light and faded,
we crumpled like newspaper
and blew toward the pier.
Lou said ‘wild!’ and sauntered to catch up.
I forget what happened next.
But I tasted brine
in the morning
and my hair was flying free
across a stained pillow.
I’m sure I can find that lamppost again
and maybe the smoke
will still taste of poetry and beer
when the old town fades to a street corner.