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stuttering napkins (for paul blackburn)
by Steve Dalachinsky


1.
i sit there in McSorleyís maybe a table away from you& the firemen & cops writing my poems
being ďa manĒ at the ripe old age of late teenager
eating liederkranz cheese crackers & onions
drinking  a mixture of Guinness & light beer
until I am plasteredi was always alone with the sawdust
on my soles & lips
you Ė i  there
through our histories Ė
our histories  coinciding
yet never intertwining

autumn now
your history in the history books
mine
like the soon falling leaves

we drink together
but apart
you survive as i perish
in a fine wind

letís meet later at Maxís
        (the book store not the city)
                       then later
           iíll play another version of that Rollins tune
you like so much

where was i while i was there in the middle of all this?
where was i?

itís autumn
early to mid 1960s
as i exit the stationo ne fallen leafbrown & brittle
lying on the subway steps Ėa bit too early.

2.
tonight i heard paul blackburnís voice his numbers my numbers after his numbers
without ever knowing his numbers
iím paler than my brotherís
blue impala

iíve always felt perhaps because
iím not a translator myself
that translation brings too much ERA
into oneís own poetry

possibly
a located
unrest
licks
BLACK
uneasy
ram-shackled
nuances

bloody
lack luster
average
cumulative
kindness

my brotherís impala was a
convertible.

 



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