Thursday, February 10, 2011

Julia Vinograd's Step Into My Parlour

Portrait of a Street Hustler

When he leans against a brick wall
the wall cringes and the bricks whimper,
His angry hands are ready to crush
at any moment. Or caress.
Young, with lips that are always soft
no matter how hard he glares.
the suna nd the moon are only yapping dogs
he'll kick away if they don't behave
and if he could afford the right kind of boots.
Other people exist to feed his low-slung jeans
and hopefully not to talk too much.
Night licks the inside of his wrists
when he lights a cigarette slowly,
in case someone's watching.
All clock numbers are in his torn pockets
where hands tell time but who can tell him anything?
A shrug rides his shoulder like a renaissance falcon.
Terrorists crashing buildings are too far away.
And too lonely. He'll be the sea storming
all over a little room and anyone in his way.
Sharks surface at his collarbones.
Treacherous undertow drags bodies down by the hair.
Merchant ships and suits smash against rocks.
He tried to pose with a newspaper once
outside the coffeehouse,
but it hid too much of his face.

Step into My Parlor is one of Julia Vinograd's fifty or more books of poetry. She writes about people on the urban landscape with an enchanting and penetrating eye. I love her way with image and metaaphor. I met Vinograd once, in Berkeley I believe. I have this week been gifted with this 2002 book and so far like every poem here....

Linda's Hearth will probably feature future selections from this book.

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