Monday, January 7, 2013

Ghosts of New York by Jeremy Freedman

Ashen-faced Isaac Bashevis Singer wanders
out of the courtyard of the Belnord
(he’s seen too much)
and toddles to the cafeteria on Broadway.
Elegant Quentin Crisp 
with his beautiful hair waved 
and empurpled (violetted? lavendered?)
strolls at pace up Second Avenue,
Like once I saw a tiny German man studying
the Bellini triptych in the Frari,
(he had on a knapsack and an
honest and humble look of interest),
that’s me in thirty years I thought.

I can see the Empire State syringe
from my terrace: I am fully 
vaccinated against my childhood.

The Red Bar, the Blue and Gold (25 cent drafts), the Horseshoe, the Holiday, the Tile Bar, the Pyramid, Puffy’s (too poor to afford a taxi, we walked home), Downtown Beirut, the Village Idiot, Lys Mykyta, even Coyote Ugly in the old days with Beer Truck the bouncer and Action Girl (she froze every guy who asked her out and then poured tequila down their throats until they couldn’t talk), the older guys drinking PBRs, and my red-headed friends. 
I was co-champion of the all-girls arm wrestling league (Jen Innes said I was so strong), 
then the juke box said Yabba Dabba Doo, the King is gone and so are you. 
Thank you George Jones.

Now I’m one of the older guys,
I don’t go out much but 
I’m still willin’ in theory.
In theory I’m the Geator with the Heater,
the Boss with the Hot Sauce.

Someone told me someone
fucked Madonna 
in the bathroom 
at Club 57, was it me
I forget.

Author bits: 

Jeremy Freedman is an artist and writer from New York City. His poems have appeared in Otoliths, the Wilderness House Literary Review and elsewhere. His photographs and films have been shown in the United states and Europe.

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