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Upon Going To Erica’s Office On Second Street For the First Time
by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

She said it was between
the tattoo parlour and the psychic,
but did not allude to the fact that Allen Ginsberg
lived there from August 1958 to March of 1961.
Didn’t mention that it was across the street
from Klean & Kleaner
and on the same block as Chase Bank.
Did not think to describe the blue fire escapes,
Limpet-like, clinging to
windowed walls.
Or its juxtaposition to
the East Village Lounge
which probably wasn’t there
in Ginsberg’s day.

Didn’t say a word about the sprawling graffiti
sprayed on the red brick wall at # 171
Perhaps didn’t remember the
yellowed leaves of the honey locust tree
with its brown pods hanging
over cracked cement sidewalks;
nowhere to drop it’s fertile seed.
Maybe she never looked up to note
the acanthus, the egg and dart ,
the Greek key, the lamb’s tongue;
buildings crowned
by an ornamental frieze
with their pigeon soiled stoops,
common walls, and iron gates,

Not a word was said
about the mournful elegy he wrote
for his mother in apartment 16
just before he moved.
Or that the new tenants,
when the wind howls
and rain spatters against the pane,
sometimes hear a harmonising
click and clack and ding
of a Smith-Corona,
around midnight,
while his spirit
hammers out a Kaddish for himself.



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