What the Streets Look Like

Mom: the sweet rotted
summer stench still
taps the nasal cavity
inside breezes several
times per block. I have
a greater empathy for
pigeons after two months
at work in the unnatural 
country, & find it
instinctively nerve-
wracking to remove my
wallet from its pocket
here in town despite
the general lack of threat.
The streets look grey
nonplussed, post-
pubescent relative to
ancient times but
nonetheless grid-wizened
in the face of an ever-
changing lineup of
banks, bars, and specialty 
shops with their weak
signs and distant tones
(lighting). Second Ave
is giving up, slowly 
its cheap depth store-
front by storefront.
One feels less than
nostalgic for the like-
lihood of being mugged
but likelihood itself
feels less than evident
unless one is being
unstable and unspoken 
coming to dreaming
while pushing a stroller
over the variously cracked
slabs of concrete each
block yet greets the
wheels with. The right
part of the y heading
west on tenth between
2nd and 3rd is still
tree-lined and aristocratic
as feint, though its
sidewalk looks like
late Auden's smoked
cheeks. I loathe it,
amiably, when Sylvie
is asleep. 

From Something for Everybody. Copyright © 2018 by Anselm Berrigan. Used with the permission of Wave Books.