L I t T e R

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Andrew Shaw

Beside The Indus

twisting leaves to expose veins,
those impossibly small beads
of fluid drawn from earth,
purified, now life, perfection
under thumbnail, i suck,
taste intrigued, soured, good.

Beside The Hudson

kicking grit to make noise,
my own sonic footprint
meeting the city's bottomless sound,
swelling, drowning all
as one and same, i am
tired and lose my accent.

On The Death Of Johnny Cash (9/12)

Sunday bleached a night of Brooklyn mattress
into my spine, behind a night of White Horse Tavern
tequila and cubicle graffiti. My name now above piss,
sluicing since Thomas gulped his final rupturing.

Always the pilgrim I go between addresses,
that stink of trashcan anchovies in memory
stronger than any other bookish significance.
Manhattan made my heels bleed in comfortable boots.

The Chelsea has an air, but nothing like the TV
shades of nightvision cityscape green. A red band
ticker-taping encouraging results of strike success,
at the bottom of the screen in a bar, ignored.

The Jewish concierge who snatched my village voice,
told me to move away, made my day, fulfilling his role.
The ghosts of typewriters, publishers haunts,
mean less now that I am here. Where Beats were missed,

hysterical, naked. I am no longer fifteen and fear
has the island. Lost in low East Side twenties
this is no longer the fifties. They're selling crystals of twins
collapsing from street trolleys beside cheap grease dogs.

Copyright Andrew Shaw, 2006