So strange, this daily
hip-hopping through the obit notices.
The fate of strangers, circumstance,
disease, my eye running down the list of names
impersonal as a telephone book, not expecting
one of them to be someone who is someone
I know, the black and white print calling out to me.
Hanne’s boy. Ambushed. Dead.
Little Myles, big as his same name father
having coffee in the hotel bar
the carnival crackle of battle
like the Fourth of July
his camera’s roving eye caressing
rotting corpses strewn like litter
in the sunny streets
so relaxed they could be asleep
only vultures happy in that heat.
Senegal, Guinea, Liberia
Nigeria. and somewhere in between
Wooster, Prince, Spring
Mercer Streets and Greene
skateboarding across the wide loft floor
to downtown Freetown in a 4 X 4
one frontier stretching toward the other
until that druggie god or rebel guerrilla
bluejeans, flip-flops and jaunty bowler hat
stood grinning in the Sunday sun, and really
just for fun, put the muzzle of his gun
through the jeep’s open window.
Goodbye Soho’s narrow streets
no more bins of industrial waste
no more trucks, galleries
Dean and de Luca, death’s debris
the gay guys’ constant gawking
no more day, no more night
no more pleasure moans
from next door lovers
no more discos, cancer, crack, cocaine
shooting hoops, Mom, Dad, sister Lorin
rat-ta-tat you’re dead, you’re dead
there’s a bullet in your head