Tragically struggling under steamrollers

By Neil Shah on April 25, 2016

(for Lawrence Ferlinghetti)

I keep waiting for the sirens and the cigarettes,
other people to light their own sweet city dreams.
I keep waiting for the rust to takeover, for the ground to
soften some. I keep waiting for that blaring rush of sound, the
bright lights of fire trucks rushing past me in the springtime dark and
I can tell I’m starting to lose my sense of smell.
I keep waiting for the forgiving or the vengeful return of Christ, with eyes
burning no truck can wash out, with eyes burning like the Bastille aflame and
and we silently trade the bodies and change the clothes.
I keep waiting for the day I see all us sinners will be running from god. From Christ, from
smells of brimstone and I run like a faggot from a witch burning and burning is a science of
I keep waiting for the high. I keep waiting for the call-back. I keep waiting at the
park and watch the overgrown children fart and taunt one another. I watch the boys on the
basketball courts yell faggot yet again and I watch the kids with skateboards push each other on the
I keep looking to the canopies for something to do trying to see birds.
I keep turning over in my sleep and
think to sleep on my stomach so I don’t snore so much.
I keep waiting for the day I finally don’t even crave a
cigarette anymore at any time of the day, when I stop taking
drugs to have fun and waking up next to my sober lover wheezing like a mule that
belonged to Anse Bundren, slat-ribbed and inching towards death.
I keep waiting for the milk and come on my pants to dry, keep waiting for my sister in LA
to call me back and tell me how badly she wants me to come and visit again next winter.
I keep waiting for everyone so obsessed with cultural-sensitivity to smoke some weed and
learn to relax. I’m waiting until I learn my privilege all over again.
I’m waiting for us to learn the meaning of relaxed, I’ve tried once or twice,
relaxing the muscles of the anus with the help of just sniffing some of that “popper”
they sell at Tiffany’s as nail polish remover.
I keep waiting for the day we all become bored with guitars and chase artists down into
alleys where they can be either tarred and feathered or lynched.
I’m waiting for Lawrence to come back from the dead, slap me in the ass, I mean light a
fire under my ass, and help me turn this into a book. I’m waiting for all the guts and
gore and glory of addiction to be swept out from under me like a table mat dinner trick
gone completely awry in some horrible old 60’s movie fashion.
I’m waiting for Eddy, Wally’s neighbor, to get Wally into drugs and sex,
or at least hot-rodding or beat literature.
I’m waiting for Beaver to grow up and find out what his name really means.
I’m waiting for my dog to get kicked by a horse or hit by a car, I’m waiting until a
car comes and slams into me while I’m in my car, I’m waiting to get pulled over and get
the weed sniffed right out of me by some cop with a bloodhound nose, much practiced
and desirous of vindication.
I’m waiting for the day I learn basic math, can speak Spanish half-way decently, can ride
a bike all the way to Chicago on five hits of acid, falling into the arms of my Micheal Palmer
dripped in sweat and he tilts my head up kissing me tenderly and for hours.
I’m waiting for Boko Haram to release all their adolescent prisoners, or tell us where
the bones are, I’m waiting for the day that each American feels the sweat of every poor little
yellow and brown child stitching their shoes together, needles in fingers, while we hunger
and lust after autonomy.
I’m waiting for the internet to load, I’m waiting for my addiction to porn to decrease and
my desire to fuck to increase, I’m waiting for the fake the false and the intrepid to dance away from
me once and for all and leave me bored and alone sitting in the middle of the street.
I’m waiting for the next person at Mardi Gras to die, I’m waiting until Bourbon Street gets razed by
excavators and all the white children on the balconies throwing plastic cups at black women get
thrown over the railings and to their deaths, tragically struggling under steamrollers.
I’m waiting for them to build the houses back up over the bridge.
I keep waiting ‘til the day I learn to wash my socks on time, no more than four pairs because that just
means more than four pairs of dirty socks.
I’m waiting for the day I learn to exfoliate my belly properly to stop the in-grown hairs.
I keep waiting for that lady at the job with the abject face at the park I applied for to call me back, I’m
waiting for the next journal I submitted to to email me back and say sorry we really liked the ending of
such and such but it doesn’t fit with our upcoming issue.
I keep waiting to forget thinking why they didn’t like the rest of it.
I keep waiting to remember wanting to die, or feeling like it wasn’t so bad, or I wouldn’t be missing a
whole lot.
I’m waiting for people to realize that pit bulls really aren’t any more frightening than any other dog is.
I’m waiting until I realize that a lackluster sexual performance shouldn’t completely abase my self-
worth, and that a spectacular sexual performance doesn’t mean shit either.
I keep waiting, I’m truly waiting for the day I stop seeing my dead father walk toward me on busy
city blocks saying hey let’s get out of here and tell me what’s been going on these past few years.
I’m waiting to be hit by another car yet again, launched feet into the air and upside down landing on
my neck and somehow walking away, getting right up as an ambulance screams past me gunning down
St. Claude Avenue, springing right up and the doctor says
while scanning for concussions well it’s your night to play the lottery.
I’m waiting to fix my bicycle now.