jump to navigation

Poem – Single Room Occupancy on 86th Street (1992) by Jade Blackmore May 28, 2018

Posted by vscorpiozine in 1990s, city poems, Jade Blackmore, New York, Veteran Poets.
Tags: , , ,
trackback

The exclusive address would make people jealous
If they saw it on an envelope
And never actually visited me.
I could walk to Central Park or the Metropolitan Museum
But three people could barely fit in my room.

Every week, I went downstairs to Beethoven Pianos on the first floor and paid the store manager my rent in cash.
Another tenant, a cute blonde boy with a limp
Always hung out in the showroom.
We’d get Pepsi together from the soda machine
And dawdle by the pianos till a customer walked in.

The Grande Dame of the SRO, an artist who lived in the room next-door to me, always wore pastel maxi-dresses and walked around the hall followed by her cat.
She’d been there six years.
She was between apartments waiting for an inheritance, she said.

I’d eat fishcakes and spaghetti on Friday
At the diner next door, and
Listen to the tubby telemarketing pros
Discuss their prospects

Tourists from Germany,
Students on summer internships,
and party kids
Slammed doors
And padded in and out of the shared bathrooms
In slippers or rubber sandals,
Faces blurred,
Suitcases bumping down stairs
Every month or two.

I walked down Lexington with a Black and white TV in a box
Hailed a cab in the rain,
And reconfigured the TV in a bigger box,
With clothes stuffed in a dresser and in the drawers under a twin bed,
Half the floor crowded with a computer, printer and answering machine.

I’d wash my hair in the sink in the morning.
The window open to the courtyard,
birds chirping, cabs honking, children playing,
Then scurry downstairs
and buy a bagel and coffee from a cart on the street.
I’d start breakfast on the subway to midtown
and finish it at my desk.

Fell asleep with the Boombox turned low
after exploring Manhattan after dark
With friends.
Woke up and did it over again.

No snotty roommates,
Leases,
Or screwed-up boyfriends.
No upstairs neighbors throwing used kitty litter out the window.
Sometimes freedom is better than space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments»

No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: