Tell me, baby,
when I lost the rhythm,
the subway lurch
and one-handed,
strap-hanging melody
between piano lessons
and light lunches
at the Chinese restaurant
they knew us on sight at

or sitting on cold concrete
and moving to stay in the sun

There are rules -
fire escapes should be painted
and painted and painted
a particular green,
thick and slick as nature,
bolted to brick-face and
hanging like vines over the street -
no natural light but the light you bring,
flickering candles and instrumentality
that only goes flat when it's warranted
and okay with everyone involved,
a shortcut to that West Coast sound
from the early east-twenties

Tell me, baby, where that went;
Tell me why I don't read anymore