Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Beholders

Wood Street of a workday morning is
a pastiche of working class working
poor and corporate automata
in tortured fits jostling and jagging
toward their posts like ants in a colony.

A dozen Dunkin Donuts swing from my
casual Friday hand as I ponder
the juxtaposition of white Grant Street
aristocracy two blocks up the hill
with the worn flannel shirts and wool hats

of fast food alley between the T
the empty storefronts of Liberty
and Lazarus's looming reminder
of optimism squandered like
good will for an unrepentant addict.

From Wendy's exits a visor'd youth
who offers the tall bagman loitering
in the entrance a cup of coffee and,
at first rebuffed, offers again:
an unlikely and warming kindness.

Slowly resolving from this idle congress
the ball-bearing smooth swivel of one man's
head after another indiscreetly
marking the passage of a woman
on whom I am gaining steadily.

I have noticed and unnoticed
previously her fulsome round ass
protruberant and plump like citrus fruit
(not without its ennervating charms)
over legs too skinny for exercise

and just as swiftly dismissed her from mind
for the mortal transgression of a bad perm
suggesting bad nutrition a lack of style
or -- worse -- both and the odd way her cheap
denim jacket stops five inches above

her jersey to unflattering effect.
Her gait's feeble pretense to buoyancy
suggests despair and her hands in her pockets
precludes elegance until she reaches
around behind to tug the hem of her

jacket with slender fingers ruined
by a gaudy explosion of enameled
talons ill-befitting such a delicate
specimen clocking the morning on PayLess
bootheels poised by Near Eastern negligence

to break and spill her to the ground where her
palpable dismay suggests she belongs
(not that the lunchpail crowd to whom she
broadcasts some subliminal invitation
appears to mind her want of style and grace

as they crane their thick necks unabashed to follow
united in their mutual desire).


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