The fin de siècle

A little boy,
all in white,
knocking at your downstairs door
in the light, blown
from gray to golden
at the whim of a wind way up high.

Everybody’s all over the T.V.
So far everybody’s allright.

The dogs are dancing in the streets.

It ain’t Paris, but it’s nice.

Midnight in a corner bar,
dancing girls and loud guitars,
in love with every waitress
the whole wide world around.

Free drinks tonight, boys,
compliments of the girls.
Free drinks tonight, boys,
compliments of the girls
behind the bar.

Steaming up the windows.
Swinging from the rafters
Funny hats and streamers

Dilentantes and dreamers
sing to old acquaintances,
not to be forgotten, not tonight
tonight, tonight,

Tonight I’m at the mercy
of my lady New York City
and I keep seeing angels
on the subway
singing messages
that only ever always ever only
break my heart.

Who’s that in your cellphone
sending you those soulfull sighs?

Who’s that in your ear,
selling out your sad goodbyes?

If Dante Alighieri
through some extraordinary
twist of time
found himself aboard a ferry
bound for 1999,
might he let a second-
generation Pennsylvanian
take him on a tour of old Manhattan
as seen from the outside.

[…]

Around Times Square and through
the foggy streets thereunder
and above and east and west.

There are war cries in the canyon
but the vipers massed along the border
haven’t left their nests.

The dancers spin
and if they’re dancing for retribution,
well then brother we’re in trouble
‘cause as far away as the gods are these days
can’t they see this stage?
As deaf as they’ve become
can’t they hear these voices raised,
and amplified so high?

Maybe they’re not watching ABC.

Maybe they are.

Maybe they’re here right now
but these feeble winds
are all they can muster,
breezes that whip the clusters
of confectionary-colored confetti
into eddies
around the mocking jigs
of the party kids,
ankle deep in candy,
falling all over themselves,
stuck on Pleasure Island.
Out of luck on Pleasaure Island.

My own footsteps and distant bottle-
rocket pops around the corner
keep me company
on the long walk home.

My eyes close and phosphenes spark
across their darkened lids,
echoing red
and white
and blue.

And tonight I’ll sleep alone.

Warm.

And safe.

Within my skin.

_Andy Biscontini
[blackrabbit books -2002-]

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