Ghetto Poem by Tony Nesca


cruising down ellice,
reggie collecting drug money,
pawn shops on every corner,
laundromat stinkin’ and ugly,
-25 outside, snow blinding bright
reggie he talking with street punk
doing laundry living normal and clean
he tall and wiry and insane and precise
old lady doing laundry counting pennies
ragged clothes cursing in foreign language
reggie short on his take this week in trouble
he sees old lady arguing with owner no money
walks over pays for her laundry she afraid but not for long
he walks her home carries laundry bags right up to her apartment
has tea they talk and smoke cigarettes apartment small but very clean
she from portugal he from barbados they together in peg zero thirty years apart
the wind howling through the streets,
the snow piled high on every corner,
he alive,
she alive,
late on rent,
late on drug money
ain’t it a kick?