Wishing for New York
   by Helen Degen Cohen


I want to go east
before I go west,
I want to go
where the rising sun
jumps out like a dancer
soiling at once her white
gown. As poems are soiled.
I want to have coffee
where everyone else has been.
I want the scoop on those
sexy intellectuals,
a mouthful of
clean raw language, I want
to smell a pastrami man,
to taste his pickled tongue,
I want him to slap me
on the back so hard I'll
start coughing, I want
a good, healthy
whiff of New York,
the Voice,
a chocolate phos-soda.
O me. In the middle of
the Midwest, in the middle of
my life—I remember. . .
we went straight from the
Teahouse of the August Moon
to a jazzy nightspot where
everyone said man this, man that,
oh man—I'd never
go to the shows,
who needs the shows?
I want New York, man,
the dirty old man of
the east, man,
dropping through a 
cracked ceiling.

  Copyright © 1987 by Helen Degen Cohen.
  Originally published in Lucky Star, Vol. 3/1, 1987.


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