On Utopia Parkway

Between Grand Central Parkway and Little Bay,
from One Hundred Sixty-Ninth and Hillside

to Union Turnpike, to work — countless days the streets
I take to work. The front yard of roses — 

did I write their names down correctly? — 
Zephirine, Charis, Proud Land, Drouhin, Blale.

Q31 bus, among the words I hear are
Jamie, Jamie does not like to be humiliated,

Jamie is not about to forget it, either. Not
physically well, a poor man, arrested

on suspicion of selling cigarettes loose,
on the street, held, choked, left unconscious,

still handcuffed, no cardiopulmonary resuscitation
administered, pronounced dead, the cause of death,

according to the autopsy report, a homicide — 
rectally infused puree of hummus, nuts, and raisins,

by employees of the Agency’s contractor,
isn’t torture, Director of Central Intelligence

explains, but, merely, legally justified means
of enhanced interrogation. 3708 Utopia Parkway

was Joseph Cornell’s small wood-frame house.
He might have worked on the Medici Slot Machine

on his kitchen table, a Renaissance Box, a theater
he called it, the Medici and Mussolini’s Fascist state

set in a metaphorical relation, its inner lines
the lines of the floor plan of the Pitti Palace,

the inclusion of an actual compass rose the expression
of an ascent from the temporal to the spiritual.

In what place, the Federal Reserve’s
monetary spigots and banks’ access

to cash pieced together with indexed futures, to reduce
the market’s decline — in what places, violations

of which forms of which eternal laws?
Is it error, the idea that no place, too, is a place?

On the corner of Utopia Parkway and Union Turnpike,
in red-blue twilight abstracted into an energy

blowing it apart, in spaces of language transformed
and coded, to be decoded and recoded in the future.

More Poems by Lawrence Joseph