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by 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."