HPN

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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 5

TZIGANE

He's beautiful sd
the gypsy (come to
buy and sell livestock
along the River Eden
but took an intense
liking to the lad) & the
die was cast; O he has
the look about him sd
the traveller (squinting
at a fence post with his
one good eye) he belongs
to the gods (& therefore to
America) & with those words
the young fellow came into
possession of a form of
pride no longer suited to the
confines of Westmoreland (it
emanates from the boy sd the
horsetrader sizing him up like
roses or Dionysus), poor mortal
child of England that he was,
raised in the muck, amenable,
15 (he was a manageable child
til they began putting ideas into
his head sd mum); commenced to
calling himself Tzigane -- dad sd
nothing but he & the missus
clearly weren't having any of it --
but the blinders were off he
could not see what was what
& in a snap he shed his former
shyness (there is always one
hero among the farm animals),
scrubbed the sheep shit & lanolin
from his straw-colored hair (forgot
the neighbor girl) & became a man
of the world, bold with it (see how
his eyes churned, like butter) (like
blackspiders in a hot skillet in
spring) to be short he was on his
way, out the door & in a hurry (his
very nose flares too wide, don't it,
not like one of our'n) intent on LA
(he settled for New York) six hours
over the Atlantic was enough even
for a sturdy northern lad such as he
(& he was all that); a man on a mission
could bluff his way past customs in
those days and he did (it was nighttime
in the city of lights when he arrived,
he threw his bags on the floor & his
redolent torso on a mattress) 'so this
is Soho' he sd staring at the walls &
ceiling like bloody Brando -- it was the
70s he could not sleep he was empty of
desire he smoked unfiltered cigarettes
til dawn -- when he woke up sunlight
poured out all over America like maple
syrup (a pigeon coo'd a motorcycle
barked the world was changed)

A taxicab full of All-American mobsters made it down Seventh Ave., all the lights turned green

Yes! it was a new morning --
he laid out his underwear
& set out to conquer the world

  George Wallace