six fragments for jim carroll

you were the real
voice of a generation

i photocopied your poems
& handed them out
like pamphlets at
a peace protest.


i thought i’d found
a whole world
in your words,

but the pavements kept pressing up
between the pages
until everything was unfinished.


one day i noticed
the street signs
of new york
all spelled out
the letters of your name

and as if that was not enough
of an omen i kept walking, walking.


your voice
from the tops of skyscrapers
the perfect city

your tongue clicking
like needles
a pure hit of metaphor
and the comedown
like waking
from a dream.


nothing was dangerous
except for words
you wept yours
down a thousand
empty sidewalks

& i was left with amnesia
and a new language
all those perfect memories
slamming against each other
like a pile up
of cars on the interstate.


and you’re passing
through me
even now.

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