Feast or Famine

I knew the Manhattan you grew up in well indeed—
the Upper West Side— gruesomely built of blocks
of primitive brick & stone. But, for you, with two
orchestra musician parents, a ticket into New York
Bohemia, bagels & lox from Zabar’s, then nothing,
popcorn, then back to Zabar’s. Whether feast or
famine, no forced schooling for you, just days at
home with paints and canvases, from a young
age, for company, hours of repetition, breakthroughs.
Always unease, that what you wanted to paint
was too formal, too advanced, for the land
of Warhol & Koons. You were ready for Philly.
PAFA, drugs, dykes, all in preparation for
finding it, your mind’s precious Rosetta Stone.

Your vision grew limpid as your life went crazy—
ensconced in the Center City beau monde,
directing traffic, wedded to an Irish witch
who wished you the worst in the end, every
distillation of visual perfection in your brain
found refulgent form, as you found time to
fall into my arms as well, & I rode analogous waves—
why it was all lost then was simple— the girls,
your girls, didn’t like it. They were threatened
by a genius they knew to be easily trounced.
I never let you go. I still won’t: the halcyon
nights we spent remain the guiding light of
my life, in this world & beyond, you & Mary,
& bruises or afterthoughts be damned, Rosetta Stoned—

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