Squelchy Life (1967)
I’m a dissenting lay preacher
Hanging around a grubby stoop
On Park Avenue, waiting
For Tony Polar, Karen’s drug dealer
Slash ex-boyfriend to make my scene
With the hash meringue. Harsh clouds,
Empty streets. I practice my lines
On an ill-sewn squab, “I warn you,
I know kung-fu.” On my lap
Is a copy of Valley of the Dolls
Wrapped in plastic to protect it
From the mizzle. Two brats in red blazers
Call me a pig in pig Latin.
Do they know? How do they know?
I feel 22 skidoo, like
A parvenu, like my new mustache
Lacks panache. Karen and I
Have tickets to hear Albert Ayler
At Town Hall. A Mustang pulls up
And parks. Do I smell Hai Karate?
An olive tree? Is that Tony Polar
Or one of my flock? A pigeon’s wings
Are never wet. I take off my glasses
As the car’s roof starts to retract.
I close my eyes and imagine Karen:
Stiletto heels, knee-high boots,
Nehru jacket. Her face is pale
As Seconal. Open, and I’m alone.
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