HPN

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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 41

Assassin

A few months after Chapman
gunned down John Lennon,
I was in New York
visiting a friend.

We smoked a joint,
walked through Central Park
that cold bright February day,
chatting about whatever
came to mind,
emerging at Seventy-second Street.

My Olympus OM-1
with the telephoto lens
like the barrel of an elephant gun
slung around my neck,
I offered to shoot Roger
in front of the Dakota.

As I fiddled with the focus ring,
a little disoriented by the dope,
a blond woman swept out
from the building,
past the servile doorman,
celebrity self-conscious, glamorous
in big Onassis sunglasses,
cocooned in full-length fur.

Seeing me aim at Roger,
she ducked her head,
threw her hand in front of her face,
as if to deflect a blow,
hailed a passing taxi,
which swerved to the curb
like a sedan in a police thriller.


The cab headed downtown,
a getaway car
blending with the traffic.

The uniformed doorman approached us,
now menacing as a cop on the beat.
Roger and I walked briskly
up Central Park West.
I never did figure out
who that woman was.

Charles Rammelkamp