A short prose poem I wrote–
ROUGE WORK ON BARROW
The concrete is hot and my steps on those uneven slabs of Manhattan street sides and melancholy are frequented by the casual and overworked mules, and an elongated cigarette hangs off a dry bottom lip, or wrenched between both. Fire up and blow. They blow the smoke into the air. They blow the stains on the apron or the crew neck, the stains on their hands and faces. They spit and swear to themselves in the sun, feeling hot relief. I pass them, and they’re thankful they’re not Me, casual and headed for leisure and chaos, a sweat at a local gym. And they puff and blow again on Barrow Street, headed towards Bleecker, one foot out on the curb, crushing the ants because They can.
The smoke is different when you look at it in the night; thick and stiff, seeming less airy, lingering in the face and drifting upward to bleak and black skies.
Floating away into the air and staring back at you. Slow. A lover saying goodbye.
Stained shirts and tired, sweaty hands hang with faint pulses. And those smiles, like Mine, are heard above others alike, and hands slap knees and fall on shoulders. Fun. That break is over, and the hands need to get back to sweating and more stains need to fall on that shirt and I need to look at that face as it builds more when I ask for another glass of wine. Barrow Street is alive when the smoke takes floating feet to the air and the lover leaves again.