A poem for vipers
I sit in Lees. At 11:40 PM with
Jimmy the pusher. He teaches me
Ju Ju. Hot on the table before us
shrimp foo yong, rice and mushroom
chow yuke. Up the street under the wheels
of a strange car is his stash—The ritual.
We make it. And have made it.
For months now together after midnight.
Soon I know the fuzz will
interrupt, will arrest Jimmy and
I shall be placed on probation. The poem
does not lie to us. We lie under
its law, alive in the glamour of this hour
able to enter into the sacred places
of his dark people, who carry secrets
glassed in their eyes and hide words
under the coats of their tongue.
My friend Vicky says she only reads some poets b/c they make her want to write more, not exactly because the poems are good or moving in a deeply emotional way, just that they cause her want to wear sunglasses and go for a walk.
This John Weiners poem makes me feel similarly. I love the sounds of "up the street under" and other preposition entrances, and also the moments in writing when people sit around scheming things and then lift off like geese or bombers to go and cause them, successfully or not. The title coming at the end, I like that, too.
Here is something you might like to play in the background while cleaning your filthy kitchen or bedroom, too. --> Poetry Foundation: Short Oral History of Frank O'Hara w/ John Ashbery and Others