Greenwich Village, Summer 1979

Like bulls trotting on their solemn rounds
over the cow flops, daisies, clover,
checking out the maidens of the meadow,
the barnyard’s mud-bedappled beauties
— on Friday nights along Bethune
slow black Caddies with Jersey plates
(and lonesome mafiosi at the wheel)
cruise the action off the avenue:
mostly, three guys in ladies’ rigs
marvelous with fringes, flounces, glitz.
One babe is black and six-foot-three
with fullback shoulders and halfback hips
and the stricken lope of a wide receiver
whose skirt’s tackled him around the knees.
The pigskin he fumbles is really a purse
— Pandora’s, possibly, and full of tricks.
Up on those spikes he’s six-seven, easy.
Pale and faint, crashing, malnourished, broke,
a dark decade of turf patina-ed over
his floral camisole, he looks just pulled
half dying, half dead from an orgy’s heap.
(But who’s that flitting through the tumbled gangs,
the terrible high pile-ups of all
the fall’s leavetakings —is it Bully there
with somebody’s life tucked under his arm,
unstoppable Death squirming toward the goal?
Why, that wise guy, that big son of a b.!
Hey, you bum, givt the lady back her purse!
Knock him down! Jump on, boys! Bury him deeper!)