Thursday, September 22, 2005

oh, the places i've been: last part

Love Letter to New Jersey
(transcribed verbatim from late summer 1997, age 17)


I love the boys you've scratched out of
chainlink purgatory
and the madness they rub into my ribs;
They Cadillac down corners, out of breath,
and the late afternoon claws the fenders
like a harpy out for blood and wine.

I was startled by this affection for your
shore-washed chunk of our godly country;
All I remember since I've been around
bears your distressed East Coast expression in tattoos.

I collect the slutty beauty
off the glittered roofs on Atlantic City hard luck
and the red stain it has blown
over one a.m. reflections.

Streets up and through you
all smell the same,
and the pavement rolls in cracks
in sick uniform between the same two curbs
in grand lines that verge short of Manhattan.

The parkway feels like high rushes
up through Exit 120,
till it constricts in Staten Island bridge ramps
and Newark
and Route 287
and tight chaos of taillight and the brake,
but anyway
the dying evenings over the tolls
resound in my eyes for hours.

I am addicted
to all-night 7-11
and the undernoise of WaWa, WaWa,
to white-lit car dealerships that gleam after the overpass
and the holy Texaco off the shoulder,
all in neon celebration of expense--
you know the way they wink like eyes
out at the pike
in the dense early hours of morning.


You know how my bootheels sound
tripping down tree-root-bent sidewalks.
You know the dead ends
and the stale disorder apartments
without air and stacked like old ashtrays.
You know how to fuck it all.

You know how mottled clouds can slip
under thin black cables
that buzz secrets in crosses overhead,
and how waving fog can cloak
the disk of a moon.

You know the waste of public heads
and cold graytone walls that hug skulls--
your bricks can nurture a dry rot
like a tenement cellar in the dark
and clocks doze in no tangible hours.

You know the sweet tangle of Pine Barrens
north of me
and the way they do burn in October.

You know bad reputation.

You know humid summers that suck at my skin,
and the bone boardwalk
that splinters my flesh as it soaks me off.

You know the crushed beach
and how to rape young girls.
You know the ruined sours of old age,
and you know above all

what it is to be stuck.

4 little fish:

Blogger transience swam up to say...

well. wow. each and every one blew me away.

9:11 PM  
Blogger jenn see swam up to say...

that's high praise, coming from you. particularly since the last too were (ahem) high school poetry (eep!)

i wish i didn't get popups going to your site, i dunno why it happens, but it's terribly distracting.

9:32 PM  
Blogger banzai cat swam up to say...

It's like a sad song. Have you ever tried using it as lyrics in a melody?

1:42 PM  
Blogger jenn see swam up to say...

not really...i'm somewhat musically inclined but i don't think there's any music in my head that didn't come from someone else...

you're welcome to give it a go, if you like :)

12:40 PM  

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