Buying a Paper

by Kevin Pilkington

Kevin Pilkington

You pass an alley
where a drunk holds
on to a rope of piss
he made with cheap wine
and these streets are the stink
August heats until
your one good lung turns
into a trash can rattling
each time you cough.

Like most tenants you keep
windows open hoping
the sax player on the corner
has a good enough lip tonight
to cool off the next breeze.

Things haven’t been right
but you know the voices you hear now
are no longer Irish arguing
in these tenements. After
moving uptown, the problems
they forgot to pack turned Spanish.

Before ever reaching
the newsstand you decided
the past year is worth the 50
cents a paper costs if it has an article
on why the women in your life
never meant more than rent.

Finding none, you light up
a cigarette, sucking down
all the smoke it takes to cloud
reasons why love has meant
just so many trout lying on their side
in the fish market window
with prices on their heads.

Last updated October 07, 2022