Poems by year: 2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000 
By series: Bridge St  In Yr Ear  Ruthless Grip

The City

Reenact the mayhem. Sick hammers a nail through his penis
as an argument with death. Everyone wants a piece of the hardest working
author in the Lower East Side. He makes every party, he cuts his own hair,
he is loved by all. Love isn't a box of money. The subway lunges forward
at every stop. Coffee spills all over the cuffs. The cheap suit doesn't fool
anyone, then again you can fool a fool. Civil disobedience enlightens
the Bronx in the face of city hall's arrogance. A score of bullets deposited
in the flesh of the peddler passed off as routine policing flashes the underbelly
of the war on the quality of life. The quality of life is inundation.
Drunk on wine her brain makes acid and her hand makes a pass, locking
her forearm through the triangle made by my arm on my hip. He cuts
his own hair because, who has time to get their hair cut. Everyone loves
him because he's brilliant, humble, saintly in a competitive community.
You can't control him forever. The best time to go to bed is strong.
Twelvetrees' book -- Ken Schles -- Ves showed in the shop -- high contrast,
soft focus, out of focus, dark photographs of tenement rooms,
naked bellies in kitchen bathtub, a man between a woman's legs
amid debris, lawn chairs, vines, girls on dates with girls, skyrockets
red glare. An albatross swoops, pecks the most beautiful man
in the world's nose as the rollercoaster car achieves its crest.
Getting to your bottom line isn't a force of nature. Good songs
tell the truth. All the chinos in the world won't bring us together,
the lie is just even more exposed as a lie by soundtracking the truth
behind the improper relations. Get your career out of your pants, chief.
Rogue cops reflect a rogue force. The tragedy is a crime not a tragedy.


Pugnacious, pastiche
Whole old world gradually obliterated
Customs remain in parades, feasts, barkers
hawkers, sausage cookers. Still available
to be traded for some trinkets
Trinkets of no more real value than glass
Beads. We're locked in a social contract
The color of money meaningful.

Homes covered in baby blue, pink, lime, blood
siding covering wooden weatherboards, bricks, and stone.
Thug came knocking door to door asking, "How
About some siding?" An offer no one apparently could deny.

The corner, a library
The other corner, Hot Tips Nail Salon
Across from Hot Tips stands Sal's Pizzera.
Maple trees cover the block in shade
Making an arch across the street
A maple tree tunnel.

One thousand pound man sits in his chair
Wearing his draweres and ribbed tee shirt staring
Through the window screen. Lady upstainrs always alone
Feeds the cats through the wrought iron gate
The cats that hang out at the library.
1950s rock-a-billy DA hair, rail thin, smokes
Security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Sweeps the sidewalk in front of his building every morning.
Giant, dumb quiet capo, block soldier, mugsy, stretch
Keeps sentinel day and night on the corner at Sal's Pizzeria.

Twenty-four-hour produce, Chinese lady
African-American finest bonnet, three piece
Congregation every Sunday services.
Twenty-four-hour wash and fold, Chinese lady.
Italians take their anisette and coffee smoking
On the sidewalk. Dim witted brother-in-law
To the landlord sleeps in the basement with door ajar
Jack-off between the stoop and the garbage can
Waiting for Heather to return home. Ves' bondage
Party with himself. Mazza, means death in Italian
Landlord in English. In the basement circle jerk
With cronies, snorting lines to the latest skin flick
That fell off of a truck, plotting pretend executions.

The balance of power philosophy demands distance
From either end of the power. Demands an impossible
Objective view. Post-modern, pugnacious, pastiche
Layer upon layer, neighborhood palimpsest
If the bullet didn't lodge itself between the battery
And the keypad of his cellular phone
In his leather briefcase the man would have died
On his way to Hassan's Deli before work.

This poem appears in the 2000 Anthology
View all poems by Greg Fuchs