The Thing She Said to Me
The poets and rockers
didn’t go beyond Avenue A,
where the poverty was unromantic.
My fifth-floor walk-up (Ave. C and 9th)
looked over the rooftops of Manhattan,
to the sea beyond.
Floating above the world,
the carnival-lit World Trade Center
tethered me every night.
Around the corner,
the heartless barmaid Dolores lifted her blouse
to torture the old men anchored to their drinks.
Until Life Cafe (Ave. B and 11th) opened,
Dolores’ death-filled dive
is where we went.
The Swiss threw her number
on my table as she left Life Cafe.
Sitting in my window,
posing for a painting,
her beauty shined like a beacon (I am not making this up).
Framed against the sky,
in heavily accented English she said,
“Why do you let your friends betray you?”