the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




B. Z. Niditch


Unconsummated dusk
when dirty flowers
expected to die
rest in sleeplessness
like stolen kisses
disarmed under
your windowsill
by early morning
and evaporated
in a waters breath
turns everything
into bourbon
with consolation's pity
drawn in words
of absence
recalling Truffaut
in adolescence
blinking your eyes
in art houses
circling shadows
waking the darkness.


Eleven P.M.

Into the lamplight
satisfied by Flaubert
embarrassingly so
after a numberless
including the cat
from next door
staring at lilacs
in a pale waterglass
under the still life
almonds fall
under the card table
to break up
any reading composure
at the discreet hour
it starts to rain
the windows hear
taps on the roof
and unarmed trees.


Don't Doubt Me

It's a rainy length of sky
breaking out on Soho
piano bars
like the Cedar and Savoy
which used to burn
all hours of night
are closed,
O'Hara's time of well-
being hangs
on a needle
as the tabloids
his starving obituary,
Larry Rivers
paints downtown
buried in a coat
of red paint,
runaways escape
their parental storm
quoting Kerouac
or Crane out loud
on the Brooklyn Bridge
with empty tongues
swearing on
worn paperbacks
from penniless pockets,
sparrows circle
the dry fountains
searching for
open city bread
and riffs of Coltrane
from a city cab
sound over us
not even the showery fog
stops this zig-zag day.



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