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  • i lock my bike in front of the wrong fifth avenue library. the cathedral of knowledge, pride of the city,
    cinematic. stone state steps. and realize the learners’ brains are gone. inside the lights are out.
    outside the smoking pairs of lungs are dwindling. catty-corner is the welfare cafo of paperbacks,
    dvds, and the kind of computers evangelicals send to africa. steel glass fluorescence.

    ---

    the fountain water’s warm as spit, and tastes half as like it.

    the assembled occupants of the 4th floor cough on the keyboards. the air smells like feet. just a hair
    under 98 degrees.

    the seven of us queuing our escape into the elevator the hotter bodilier still.

    a man and woman scootch through the doors’ closing and they rattle open a third time.

    the man cuts his eyes at me, sizing me up? the other escapees are innocuous old. and i hear my
    emphatic aunt, don’t make eye-contact with them

    lesson learned.

    twice-learned.



    [feebly mumbled] i’m glad and he looks down at her.

    i’m glad... i took the day off. she is sweet tired resigned and glad. he nods. [i’m nearly certain he
    says nothing and i imagine that he does]

    he looks at still unlearned me and nods.

    ---

    when i ride down midtown aves i want to high five all the phone-chatting bag-holding
    patience-shortening cab-hailers who stand in the bike lane and imagine that they are cheering me on
    for not being like them.

    ---

    ever watch a man playing drum-set in the back of a conversion van parked at a bus-stop and wonder
    if you’ll ever be as sure of anything in your whole life?

    yes, a conversion van. blue. he sits on the over-plush bench-bed in the back.
    there’s no need for shortcuts when you know just what you’re doing.

    ----

    it’s dark in the park and there’s cold pizza in a trash bag and most of it doesn’t have coffee grounds.
    it’s like your fridge only freer.

    i scrounged fifty-four cents and four squares of food stamp dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt.
    for the dry dregs to roll half a bugler. the chocolate is passed around the body politic.

    is this organic?
    yeah Fair Trade

    fair trade for a dry cigarette, to intermittently suck stinging cancer crumbs stuck into my throat with
    every third drag.

    lucky(?) there aren’t many drags to it.

    this is what democracy looks like

    where will we be and are there cancer wards in ten years

    after during instead of the revolution?
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