New Disease Streets by David L O’Nan (poetry from New Disease Streets)

I cut a record in the trance of snaps
On a new disease street.
Watching them worship the homeless man’s defeat
They stole our dancing jewels,
And from that fame
The sandwich bag Madonnas grew.
The appetite for the bleak and the new.


Music breathes out of dead-end windows
Cockroach apartments smell better than –
The flesh that is sticky from these sweat bleeding streets.
Oh, the wet blades shine more when they’re silver.
An appetite for the starved and the view.


The alcoholics are stretching for a new fight.
Those dirty pigeons that sleep in the grass instead of the trees.
I bravely found a quarter in the storm drain,
It appears the acid has eaten away at George Washington’s face.


Nevertheless, I can ride in the rusted pink taxis –
That drives faster than quicksand.
It is lonely then sickly.
Huffing in graffiti paint fumes through the holes of a brown sack.

I’ve surmised that I’ve digested the whole city, and my stomach is –
Starting to rumble and splash in its own rivers.
Now, my existence has been debated for years.
But for now, you can call me Galileo –
Because I’m punching down the stars to the land.


We are just trying to give the dying one last light show.
With all the roses’ souls, I’ve ripped from the soil.
Before we all slip back into a coma
And dress back down to our dusty selves.

photo by Denis Agati