1642 Argonne Place, NW
Alley of giant air conditioners, you roared
your ill wind our way day and night. We burned
you down, little house, but you rose right up again.
We played guitars by candlelight and sang songs to the cat.
We stole each other’s cake and dope, dancing
all night, sleeping late, driving down Columbia
Road to the Omega for Mexican-style chicken,
which two lovers could live on for an entire day.
We threatened you
with a sledgehammer
if you wouldn’t let us go.
Enough, you finally stammered,
be gone from Argonne!
1920 S St. NW: The Chateau Thierry
If you opened the door without thinking,
the entire neighborhood gushed into the apartment
like an open hydrant. We gathered around the black
and white tv like it was a tabernacle containing
the secrets we yearned to know. The first Gay Pride Day
made the building tremble so violently the roaches
scurried from the cracks and crevices looking
for safer quarters. Theodore, Edward, and Al
ran the only manual elevator still going in our
part of town. Casey, violent and crazy, dealt coke
out of his first floor apartment. Mara owned
a dozen petite dogs to be avoided at all costs.
Zoltan Farkas wrote The Baltimore Poems
and disappeared completely from the landscape.
I had a brass bed, my altar of love, and a cat
named Spooky. People yelled my name
up the side of the building, I threw them
a key out the window, and they rose
up to the fifth floor and through that open door
into my abode of bliss, which I still miss.
3701 Massachusetts Ave. NW: Cathedral Court
They told me I was moving to the geriatric district.
No Metro up there, they warned. But I was now
on top of the hill, across the street from
one of God’s most prestigious addresses.
I would stare at the naked bodies carved above
the Cathedral entrance, like a page torn from
the Playboy version of Genesis, thinking
yes—this is the way religion should be.
A bus took me back to Dupont Circle
in three minutes. At night I’d walk home
up Mass Ave, past all the embassies,
loving to touch down momentarily
on Irish soil, salute the statue of Gibran,
great poet of wedding-vow love, hail Mary and Tom
and Cyn and Steve. Pick up the mail.
Waltz with Susan in the enormous living room,
then lie in bed at night, by the window,
hypnotized by the big cake of a church bathed
in its rosy blush of light, fireworks
erupting somewhere in the city’s distant dark.