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To the Junkies on 48th & Ninth

by Bill Bowler

On hot nights in Hell’s Kitchen,
busts or no busts,
with “works” and “new sets,”
poor Spanish pincushions
push artificial H
on Ninth Ave. & 48th,
while around the corner
in a black continental
with Polaroid windows,
Mr. Big waits.
Neighborhood sons and brothers,
bug-eyed amigos with swollen hands
around a half-full trashcan stand
with the stuff at the bottom.
One, with skin like the moon,
oozing craters and open wounds,
with no hunger, no sex, no pain,
with inch-thick leather skin,
searches his crotch for a vein
to sink the needle in
and ride the spike, while it lasts,
then slide
down through the Lower East Side,
towards the casket.

Copyright © 2007 by Bill Bowler

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