a little bird tells me

start: doo-wop is the new ter-weetie: sheet iron
rules the world of river commerce, still maniacs
wander the streets of wood mill towns aimlessly,
listening to portable transistors, waiting till
their batteries run down to nothing. sometimes,
i wonder what it's like in pittsburgh, or anywhere,
really, sited on the confluence of more than two
rivers ... & my mind wanders, like an aimless out-
of-work timber lugger, over prairies & old rails,
the background thick with kudzu, r.e.m., pylon -
you know, the old reconstruction drill. punch-on
pynchon's drunk on tough love, monkey bar plays,
obscure league ladders underlined in invisible
inks that radiate like metro lines or snakes out
along branches, lines, staccato rim shots pale
& golden in the light of a used-car dawn, or else
a book of poems set in edward hopper's universe:
a diner, an office in a small city, a small city,
an office, a small diner, part-time crime writer
moonlighting as a truck-stop harmonica-player or
was that a waif (faraway sounds of water falling
strafe the docks, the cobwebbed parking meters,
say 'nothing really matters', but what if it does

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