1. The long con of history

    Stillness is a mastery
    Of the sort that eludes me.

    Or rather, come to think of it,
    Of the sort that I write off.

    I wander on.  Past the frame.
    Squint, cup my ear, strain,

    Wonder at the slight of hand and ache
    For the world beyond the tablescape.

    Take, for instance:

    A Fort Greene fall
    A farmers market stall
    Roots still a bit muddy
    Brushing my hands together
    My boots later on the doormat
    And again washing up at the sink
    I think about what it means
    To be earthbound
    In the city

    Stop.  That’s probably just fine, no?
    I don’t know.  Let me try again.

    Take two.  With a thesis this time.
    Or something like it.  A flow.

    Something about high art and the streets,
    Golden Ages and Low Country hustles.

    Follow me:

    Step right up!
    Step right up and take a guess:
    How much can twenty-four dollars get you?

    It’s a carnival booth
    In the bleak Coney Island morning.
    Last night’s loose trash looks like lost rabbits.

    Around here it’s not as easy as it used to be
    Finding a man to deal you the three-card monte,
    When you need to get high on the oldest trick in the book.

    But don’t worry.  Here’s a Canal Street table
    Laid out with trinkets that shine truculently bright,
    Overstiff handbags and timepieces that feel light.

    A happy bargain for folks born yesterday. Tick tock.
    At least while it lasts. A New Amsterdam minute.
    Or to be even cuter about it: a Minuit. Mic drop.

    Up in Times Square glow,
    A ‘Lo Head revival kicks it old school.
    Fuck the Night Watch. They’ve got nothing on them.

    Hold on. Of course it was a trick question.
    I think the right answer was…
    I don’t know.  How far do you want to go?


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