Diary of Tadpole the Dirtbag
FAR FROM TROY
Last night I found the face
of a lost childhood friend and tormentor
shining from a puddle on Rivington Street.
I stepped on his forehead
and the moon shorted out.
I put the puddle in my knapsack.
I wanted to take him home
to my woman and two cats
and show him I was no longer afraid.
That I could close my eyes once
and nobody would find him again.
Where I live those without homes call the night Ed Glory.
He’s failed at moving beyond what everyone’s told him:
that his question marks would never go away,
that he was so skinny he left bruises
on his one blanket, that he could disguise
his voice like the blurred drawings of Steve Ditko.
But tonight we walk to the ends of the shipwrecked housing projects.
My apartment is both minutes and years
from the Lower East Side.
The dark stays in our eyes.
The 2am predators wait on the next block.
Young, white and homeless,
the remains of a Trojan settlement
that crawled out of a manhole behind us.
I can already hear what they’ve done
to their shadows.
I let the puddle out of my knapsack.
I don’t know if it will tell anyone its name
on its passage through the arson districts,
but I know it will never reach the river alive.