portion of the artwork for Barbara Tramonte's poetry

Barbara Tramonte

I am not Paul Bowles
Or a lady on a camel
Who loves the hump.
I travel in the Bronx
Dear dollar store
Hello, to Jelia Domingo
In Co-op City
Mon ami.

I travel to Brighton Beach
Hello, dear Russian lady with your
Lips and vodka beauty
I travel down your schmatta street
Beneath the el as
I am craning to be better.

Don’t forget
Don’t be afraid
I won’t take you on a bleary
Borough bacchanalia
But we might stop at
Louis Armstrong’s house
In Jackson Heights
To see his love for
Swiss Kriss
And all life.

I travel to a stoop
On Sixty-Fourth
Where a beggar
Asks for money
And I give it.
He gives it back
And asks if I can
Buy a meal for him
At “Eat Here Now.”

Eggs and hash potatoes
Toast and coffee later
He says that Bernie Madoff
Sometimes gave him change for food.
He points to Bernie’s pad above
Then grins,
“I didn’t know he was a thief.”

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 45 | Spring 2015