tagNon-Erotic PoetryChambers Street

Chambers Street


Storky got busted,
nabbed right in front
of his variety store,
by the cigars and news,
sundries in dingy cases,
on splintery shelves.
In the back the boys sit,
drink grappa,
play the numbers.

Maybe you get ahead,
gliding past factory mornings
that unfold on gray streets.
Maybe no more cardboard cups
from the Kwik Coffee truck,
no more nickel-plate grind
through years, Taryton
or Camel packs rolled tight
in white t-shirt shoulders,
or dropped in starched
bowling shirt pockets,
anticipating Friday league night.

Daddy says Storky's alright.
He just tries, like Gino
from Naples, with his no speaka English
gold tooth smile,
or the gypsies who wear gold chains
and flash their eyes at me.
JP brings me Italian nougat candy,
and Andy the retired strong man,
the carny, has two yellow teeth,
and can tear a Manhattan phone book
in half, lift a kitchen chair
with two fingers.

Daddy says they're ok,
just poor slobs, working stiffs.
Sometimes they buy 20-dollar
gold pieces from us. Andy
lifts me up with one big hand,
the gypsy lady says I'll travel,
I'll be lucky in love.
Gino gives me a free slice,
Neopolitan style, and a Coke.

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