Will Nixon

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Artwork by Gene McCormick

With Our Backs to the Palisades

Only the parking meters stood without anger & remorse.
Pier pilings gave roost to gulls that made scrawny livings
begging from tugboats. Cockroaches invited guest lecturers.
The stoplights didn't know Sundays & every recipe called for
a bullhorn. I didn't speak Spanish, nobody spoke Esperanto
& boom boxes packed twenty pounds of rage from the Bronx.
Cops didn't give a fuck about car alarms humping in public.
Feral cats had fallen out of our ceilings, but the rooftops
remained as silent as Indians. The author who'd swum
with dolphins & compared it to touching olives in martinis
traveled across the river to be famous on late night TV.
He lived in Hoboken so the rest of us could be jealous.
Edgar Allan Poe had stolen our best murder & set it in Paris.
Locust trees snagged ShopRite bags out of the updrafts
to wave billowing white hearts of surrender, but I say,
surrender with enchantment is the secret to love. Oh,
Hoboken, you always had the best chemical sunsets.

Oh, Hoboken,

birthplace of Sinatra & baseball & ice cream cones,
what did I invent but heartache as the willowy blonde
lost in her Walkman paused to sniff cantaloupe buttons
at the fruit cart before walking into the future without me?
You gave us zippers & slide rules & sold the first Oreos.
You brought kindergarten from Germany, yet the night I saw
½ Japanese at Maxwell's the five-alarm blonde canoodled
with a limo driver from Bayonne, or was it Bay Ridge?
Oh, Hoboken, never stamped in a passport, yet the birthplace
of chewing gum, steam engine trains, & outdoor Shakespeare,
will I never recover from the red dress with a porthole
for her belly? The Terminator conquered us at a matinee.
With one arm ripped out to wires dripping with sparks,
he stood on the rubble heap of an impeccable future
and dared us, the lonely prisoners of cinema AC,
to leave the darkness of history for the waterfront's
wet heat, where the blonde walked her bike with a cat
in the handlebar basket, one eye green, one orange,
just like David Bowie, the Martian master of glitter.

Will Nixon's poetry books include My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse and Love in the City of Grudges as well as My Clone and other chapbooks. He lives in Woodstock, New York. His web site is willnixon.com