Thursday, September 24, 2009

Multiply the Answer by Pigeons

(A Beat poem I wrote many years ago. Some poems should be a bit "off-center" in meaning.)

You can’t possibly tell me what’s on the fire escape
or why the old Italian woman is playing the concertina
so soon after her husband shot himself full of needles.
You can’t tell me why the Buddha hovers over the intersection
and nobody notices the quiet karma of the traffic lights.

Take any given siren.
The emergency is only speculative
from five floors up.
Maybe Macbeth has murdered Duncan in lower Manhattan.
It’s all too much.

Divide the city by two
and multiply the answer by pigeons.
All you get are repeating decimals in Central Park.

Sometimes pedestrians freeze to death
when their feet get stuck to the sidewalk.
Who can blame them in subzero?
Their color is gone by lunchtime.

The light turns green,
the siren fades,
pigeons start pecking decimals
left on the ground by school children.

I don’t especially want answers—
I want to know what causes the questions.

For example:
a fat Buddha on a silkscreen
is holding an orange.
Is he going to throw it at the Italian woman?
Does he hate the concertina?

Did you hear the one about the little old lady
looking for a book on Zen?
She goes into a bookstore,
stares at the clerk,
but doesn’t say much.


Catvibe said...

It's like a beat poem on acid. I love the buddha image. I like the way the poem falls from one thing into another and still seems to make sense.


Lana Gramlich said...

I snap in your honor. ;) (Nice to see you again...Hope all is well!)

Billy said...

Cat, I love that description!

Lana, All is well. Thanks for stopping by!

SnoopMurph said...

I had percussion sounding in the back of my head as I read. I, too, think Cat's description is best.

Glad to see you back and hoping all is well with you.

Lane said...

Love the images (especially the freezing pedestrians) and speed in this.

Glad to see no time of blog death has been called yet:-)

(and wondering why this post didn't show up in my reader until today?)

Billy said...

Thank you,Snoop. Thanks for dropping by. :)

Lane, it's an odd poem, but I like a little odd in life to fend off routine. (Not sure what's going on with Blogger these days, or in readers. Seems like some pings work, some don't. I've been AWOL -:))

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love this, all of it, so imaginative and wow! I especailly like the Buddha and the mathematical pigeons....

Maxine said...

I can see, smell and touch this city. It's pulsings make for the confusion you've captured.

Billy said...

Maxine, thanks for scrolling down and reading this one! Much appreciated!