You guys want anything from Ghetto Mart?
I ask a room at Hancock Court.
Blood-hued sirens throb dangling shards of stained glass.
Orange pop, Joan Crawford insists,
lighting cigarettes off
of her flannel pajamas.
A 6 pack, sneers Werly Fairburn, who lives in 110.
Smokes, snaps Lawrence Olivier,
pointing at his miniature choodle
whose pea-sized bladder threatens
the antique carpet.
I gather crumpled dollars from my friends' moist palms
& head on over to Ghetto Mart, 3rd St. & Forest.
I descend a shabby green staircase, thinking of how my lungs will quake
when I ascend the staircase again,
thinking of all the bottles I will drain from Ghetto Mart,
how each one will result into a separate trip -- the heaving of recyclables,
a drudgery, a heaviness, the noise, the emptiness,
the burden symbolized by a huge blue bag,
clanking hollow glass pacifiers, what else can I say ...
Glass machines suck them in for dimes.
I shove open a squeaky backdoor & hear Charles Bukowski
tell his basement people to shut up or he'll get evicted.
He's getting evicted.
Immediately, I look to my left
to see if my lover's lights are on.
Charlie Dawson's bedroom ignites the alley.
The buttery florescence crosses
Connie Francis' Camery.
I heel my cheap red boots across urban gravel,
poking around the dumpsters for a new lampshade,
taking in a lost gallery of graffiti tags.
The blood-hued sirens rip against a steeple's chimes.
The poor shall inherit
the Ghetto Mart.
The meek dig for a match.
My imagination is money.Hey, baby, I'm sorry, but you think you kin get me a lil change when you come on out? I'd very much appreciate it, says a hungry man with eyes like runny eggs & veins like satellites. Nappy & trench-coated & tired, he holds the door open for me as if I was his customer.Yackety - Yak! Don't talk back, rolls University Market, but we all call it Ghetto Mart, like adolescents cussing behind text books with unstretched bindings.Fuck dude, I'm trippin', curses a thick man in a Red Wings' jacket, eating White Castles near the new Barely Legal.
A convex mirror stretches me into this aquarium of man-eaters.
The Iraqi owners pivot behind plexi-glass,
retrieving Hennessy & Parliments
for Romeo and Juliet.
Get me some of them Red Hots & a copy of this here High Times, some Newports...
a 5th of Vodka, NO! a pint, yeah that's right, no not them Snickers, man...
& the owner yells, Vhat is it you vant?I'll have my lover on his back, please, so that I can slip upon him like a ring -- No I'm just playin'. I'll have the orange pop & the beer & the cigarettes & your smile, which is like a photograph of sunlight, & the clientele at my back like a platoon of lonely hearts & the numbing freeze beyond the door & spare change to feed to poor & my two cheap red boots, kicking rocks against the lot, & Charles Bronson's elbow, crossed into mine like a knot. - Erin Knowles<<prev next>>