I still live here.

Pull the three-flats up by their roots.
If the basements are empty of ghosts to satisfy you,
don’t fill your aching belly with the air down there anyway.
It’s wet with mercury.

Dust the shadows from Rosemont Avenue
and bring a broom with you on Broadway
to sweep all the excess light from your path
into the gutter.
Do not stop at the comic book shop
or at the bar for a drink,
especially the one where the kid with the records
gives you your drink free
if you guess the number in his head.
He’s never thinking of a number
and is undeserving of your trust.

Continue if you have the heart
past the all-night diner where our friends and that famous writer
used to eat when they were tired.
The booths are beasts that want to devour you.
They will gnaw on your back with teeth so tiny
you will bleed out in your dreams
and wake up dead in the morning, unaware of it.
The turkey sandwiches are not satisfying.

Do not lose your footing
on the elevated train’s third rail.
Do not climb any hills that disappear in their own dust.

When you come to the place
where the water is black and bright
and seems to be dirty with the light
of extinguishing falling stars,
take out your cigarettes and get to work
filling up the skies again.
I will be coming your way in due time.

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