A zoological exhibit. Or its equivalent.
That’s how the man carrying ice blocks
wrapped in plastic describes this mosaic.
He spits. The saliva curdles on asphalt.
Those who smell of money only gaze
upon a gorilla in a ballcap, performing tricks.
But I nod fervently. The gorilla is sage.
There’s bona fide authenticity
on our corners, where men with dead
gazes pace and smoke cigarettes,
addicted to heroin cut with quirkiness.
It’s real. Concrete. Our dope is hard.
So viciously potent, it floods
the streets with zombies who lean
horizontal while waiting for a bus ride.
I attempt to stand among them, slouch
my shoulders, furrow my brow down
and eye fuck the visiting high rollers.
Passing by, a baby sits up in his stroller,
reaches with his plump limbs and calls
me his daddy. I’m not that man, I say.
His mother examines me, then giggles briefly
right before suspicious stoicism takes hold.
“The baby’s father is a corner zombie,”
she says, “and you do not lean correctly.”
(Painting By Robert McClintock)