Two Poems from “Beat”

Of Greenwich Village

I have visions at night of a life I’ve never lived,
a better life, a deeper one, with ripples in water
that leave lesser mortals standing in awe,
where men in fedoras and berets
with mustaches and pipes in their mouths
sit coolly at cafés and sip coffee ‘til dawn,
where women in red slither in and out
of hands that grope them hungrily beneath tables,
where hipsters and hepcats play bop in a corner,
creating art on the spot, creating life on the spot,
flying free, unencumbered through the scales,
inventing rhythm,
where poets and writers and thinkers and painters
bring ideas to form and form into question,
where the city is reduced to some noise in an alley
and teenagers dabble with adulthood
below stone arches and pylons of brick,
where sex smells like money and sweat smells like sex,
where hallways are inherently noir-ish of their own accord,
and light from behind casts a tall shadow on a wall,
where trumpets and saxophones are the rule of the day,
blowing into being phrases of existential discomfort,
rending the otherwise casual air with the spaces
between notes, bending sound, finding the holes,
where there is always a needle nearby, the presence of
which is itself a comfort,
and the only matter that weighs on a brain
is which dame you ought to take home—
the white-skinned redhead,
or the dark, dusky beauty…


I’m beat.
Beat up and beat down and battered around.
I’m beat like defeated, not beat like the sound.
I’m beat like tired, not beat like hip.
Not beat like Allen or Jack or Pip.
I’m beat like the Beatles, but not beat like their beat.
Not beat like their rhythm but beat like the heat.
I’m bested and bettered and baffled and beat.
I’m beat like beaten, not beat like meat.
Meat is for beating, a beet is for eating.
I’m beat like a bitch and beat like I’m bleating.
I’m beat like I’m weary; I’m beat like I’m bloated.
Not beat like Bohemian but beat like exploded.
Exploding beets are beat and defeated.
I’m beat like a beet that’s been handled and heated.
I’m beat out, I’m beat in, and defeated again.
I’m beat like exhausted, not beat like I’ve been.
I’m beat like I’m finished, not beat like a writer.
Not beat like Burroughs, not tough like a fighter.
I’m beat and effete and I can’t keep a beat.
I’m beat like a bum who’s face-down in a street.
A street is for meeting, a beat is for drumming.
A seat is for greeting and a tune is for humming.
I’m beat like fatigued; I’m beat like I’m bruised.
I’m not beat like Neal but beat like I’m used.
I’m beat and bewildered but tapping a beat.
I’m beat in the gutter; I’m beat in my seat.
I’m beat in my arms; I’m beat in my feet.
I’m beat like destruction; I’m beat like delete.
I’m just beat.

Both taken from my book of poetry, Beat.



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