I wrote this poem about the Slope last year. My friend Tom “Bones” Miquel recently passed, so sadly I wanted to put this poem (please excuse word press screwing up my format) up on the ol’ blog in his honor. He left us way too soon.
“I’m not much for gossiping, but I do like to talk shit.”
The Slope Opera’s in full swing so-and-so is coming
out in full lesbian fashion. So-and-so’s shift missing
got them expelled from the Food Co-op. No more
fresh greens, crowded shelves, long communist lines.
Walking along 7th Avenue, Bones, a bearded tough
motorcycle guy, drives by in his little pink Barbie
car while stroller moms saunter and stare hogging up
the sidewalk. Dogs stop and sniff Marty’s restaurant,
La Taqueria, with its psychedelic murals and burly
bean burritos, but pass on by pulling to Prospect Park
to bound around off leash and swim at dog beach
(which is really just the edge of a lake). I walk on
to browse the crowded shelves of the Community
Bookstore. I step over the two old dogs sleeping
by the new release hardcovers and head to the poetry
section. Run my fingers along the colorful spines,
huff the dust and ink and all the musty spent sweat
of the writers who’ve gone before me. I search to see
who I’ll be sandwiched between when it’s my time
up on that wall with all the language queens and kings.
Beside me to one side perhaps orphan Corso bopping
with the Beats, The Bridge of Hart Crane, and old ee
in all his eccentric glory. To the right this tenderness
comes from Mark Doty, Rita Dove’s smart line struts
on by Denise Duhamel’s sassy sestinas. All of us up
there together getting dusty on the shelf pressed tight
together our slick, sharp corners softening with time.