February 19, 2010
Wakes up in the middle of the street
every evening at sunset, pinstripes crusted black
with dried blood. The last thing he remembers
is the slap of the water as he fell into the fountain.
Always charges the same route up the block.
Past the working girls skinny enough to be his sister
who all act like they don’t see him.
Makes it to the intersection to turn left
on 123rd street. As he steps his guts churn out
a white shock so hard and fast it drops him to his knees
to throw up a pile of hot ash. After testing two other corners
Tony has to lay on the side walk ‘til his legs stop their jelly wobble.
Crawls to the curb and sees a cornerboy with an oddly familiar portrait
embroidered over a leather jacketed heart. Tony calls to him with a howl
soft as free base wind. It whistles up from his punctured lungs
and out the holes in his bullet riddled limbs.
The boy chalks up the noise to an unfelt breeze.
It takes longer to forget about the shiver up his spine.
Tony always gets the same kind of furious
as he realizes what must be happening.
When he finally gets to his feet he catches his reflection
in the tinted window of a Porsche that looks a lot like one
he used to own. As the beads of sweat collect and run an oil slick
of filth down his face he tries to recall the smell of the store
where he bought that white suit. How the knot of hundreds in his pocket
felt like it added three inches to his dick. His scar begins to give
a wet and constant itch. An iron rake of exhaustion runs across his bones.
He stumbles through the wall of a project building. Finds sanctuary
in an apartment that smells like his mother’s. Lays down
on the old woman’s couch. Watches her hide twenty dollars
between the pages of the family bible. Her son steals it
the moment she goes into the bathroom and leaves
the front door wide open. With his last grind of strength Tony closes it,
turns the lock, and for a moment is on a beach. Too young to know
how poor he is. As the blue on blue water touches his toes
he wakes back up in the middle of the street.