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Vincent Katz

Three Poems

Francis Bacon / Goodbye / Seventh Avenue

Francis Bacon

1 Animal
An ache of blue in the clouds

2 Zone
The tension of bodies

3 Apprehension
A little man down the road

4 Crucifixion
A drink or two at the pub

5 Crisis
If violence be the rule, I be the exception

6 Archive
Photocopy is the only reality

7 Portrait
You look only as you look

8 Memorial
All that is left is sadness

9 Epic
All that is sadness and exultation

10 Late
I wish I lived here but I do live here



Maggie Cheung climbs a fire escape in the rain,
but is it real rain? and will you know when your style
is but a bandaged stab at history’s layered larks,
and whether real or not, a system of forks,
the family convening for dinner?  The question
is suddenly no longer interesting, your path
long ago diverged, you may no longer return
to limitation’s disheveled bias, the true rushes
part of a long history, decided and rendered
compositions and blended tones;
music covers the missteps, best decision
at the time, given pressures
of personality and taste.

If I look out my window, I see
a red background, a woman standing,
and a leather harness on bust-height dummy,
giving a very homey delicate sensation
of big-city life: nothing threatening or too out-of-the-way,
though it could be if one were to take a different
turn, instead of heading home, rather
start walking towards that club, that feeling
or rather two or many simultaneous, pulling
there or back, and you don’t know what you will do.

Newspaper grimmer and grimmer,
could be a howl of infinite pain.


Cada envelope equivale ao poder adoçante de duas colheres de chá de açucar but winning is through the sounds and agreed
to sit at spots rained through the same as music’s sable
phrases spoken in the delight of salt

                     the twin long lines
of the slave cabins, cane or cotton fields and long
list of things, hovering over meaning
can you accept that swivel diced into a breath?
the pushing into something falters
at edge of meaning, television

                     you have to think of something
slinking down corridors, terrible wind before rain
sky a perfect blue with upswept clouds, building edge
feeling of calm that everything is done, wonder
about meter and forumula, thunder breaks, a nocturne
you start climbing walls with other one sitting

         manifestations of glory to one across
the spread exaggeration to suggest this
simultaneity age divided aspirations thrust
games drawings concealed treatments
at hours meals and coffee as haircuts

site specific of tired bows
never equal classic singing
is laid in movies over and over
to effect that one hits another and driving
night-illuminated city horn
taking diminish concern averts
small-dreaming extension pretense

I can’t feel the morning, supple
tones auguries’ depleted service stuns
precede venom’s forged document sleep
weather vainly brink sullied stone
arrest system vent accorded lust pretense

sibyls’ effort backed to signal
delay back feet frenched
of lays’ wringing salad fortune erect
timed dabbles fringe cornered sand array
collects wayside stammer helped
grief by petal glimmer saw
forked lip gumming stringent bellow
precinct nothing gleamed foreclosure spread
inward ink region pressed fever horse
regard regions’ might present follow
in tonic blade the stream bed
garment hung handle
to same harrowing


It’s been cloudy for days, raining but not
constantly just overcast with sudden blasts
of blue then shredded clouds appear then grand

          the shapes are becoming shrouded
and calls from friends the sky is becoming
the same color the decorations one sees on
buildings the shades pulled down over windows
or left up with lights showing but many dark

and they start to become like limitations
I try to see the planes they set up like painting
and that proves a certain relief, at night
lights and colors from life’s rectangles
it is difficult to eat or drink anything
back to the window I want to look out
a feeling of being stifled of nothing happening

Seventh Avenue

a gentle fluttering:
       large shadow figure
                      small shadow

man in fake leather
           jacket purple
                      sack over shoulder

enters curved-brick
           apartment building
Asian woman in

bright red pumps
           comes out to
waiting car, women

walk dogs walk
           them home in
bitter April sun

assuages the walkers
           to work, many with
earphones attached

some in fresh haircuts
           clothes neatly groomed
I’m a freak to some

standing in sun
           with coffee near
                      a ticketed Vespa

toward brick building face,
I’m friendly, smiles graying woman
with dog

I am again the poet
           their poet perhaps
                      I’ll strive for this

beautiful trees in bloom
           pears mostly in cold
                      but bright blue

heaven over us all

I saw a woman’s bright
           white Converse All-Stars
I wanted neither to dirty
           nor to kiss them
I wanted only to admire them
     from afar

The façade and the plaza
           are important

See a teller today

It was the season of benefits
We were looking for models

I wanted to know
what I wanted to say

There is suddenly perfect light
I can see every face

crumpled bike chained to parking post
still morning coffee fresh day begin
those diagrams hieroglyphics straight
geometry incised where people walk
dressed for Friday’s warm weather
sunlight slanted as though long ago
every face on the avenue in existence

The Wright Stuff
Sandwich bite in Subway
Renaître en beauté
Libérez l’âme de votre peau
Legends of the Road
I have found my place

Chadwin House
7th Ave Chelsea Cleaners Plant On Premises
P.O. worker buys coffee and Danish
Aged punk has mailed letter, now returns, long hair dyed blond
NY NY dueling caps
one baby holds a train, another a book

You are here in one spot in chilly May sun
You see people go and return
They are dressed to look their best
You do not need to rush

¡Hola! Como estas?
Open and Gay Therapy Groups Forming

BelMar Plumbing & Heating
LOST Last Seen In Dryer
Go to
sot toy
Twin TURBO CATERPILLARS eat asphalt belly

Back on 8th Ave.
The job of the poet is not easy:
be utterly observant, tracking,
and to note down, in plain language,
with minimal emotional distortion,
what s/he sees

e.g. bright red painted steel sidewalk gate
neat edges but a few drips on sidewalk
brown UPS truck all on sidewalk
turn on blocked street
Viceroy empty awaiting Campari
stand in shade as in Tuscan summer
Nothing much here now but the shapes
sidewalk endlessly revealed

In dusk’s anonymous sector
I am anyone
I walk and can take on
any personality
any relationship
with anyone or night
behind me sky erupts into
flurries of pink and gold







14th and 7th — eternal intersection
no one stops here unless derelict
too much energy passes through
sweeps even to the West
through here straight to Hudson and across
wide alley of light and breeze

Featuring Fire, Underdog and Vlad The Impaler
available June 9th

old gent slowly pushes laundry cart
young woman carries a dozen inflated balloons
cocooned in large plastic sheath
2 women in head-scarves converse on 7th Ave.
near traffic pigeons patrol sidewalk

U.S. towers ominously over gigantic
people are ready for the day
in suits or shorts, baseball caps, jackets
on phones, walking dogs, carrying bags
pass four columns, now ironic, framing
gated unused entrance

the ubiquitous coffee containers
bikes chained to scaffolding and parking sign
in front of newly-hosed sidewalk, just off the corner
bright orange pylons warn of work danger
across the street, workers discuss project
one in white helmet, one in blue bandana and t-shirt
an awning is going up
Time Keeper

Celebrate Dad
Father’s Day is Sunday, June 21

Free Can-Soda with Any Slice Pizza

Smell of roses on lighted corner
           quiet walkers at night
turned from leaving theater
           to sky’s color
my sons alive greatest pleasure
           nothing more to do
time’s burden lifts, I can
           live each day alone
near Police Precinct green lights
   and Manantial De Vida Inc.
safe in body and spirit here
           20th St. at night

Their song: Arise, Arise, Arise
         The sun has come, and the moon is gone
We greet the sun with our morning song
           We are thankful for another day
We are thankful for another day
           Arise, Arise, Arise

This year is not over
   will never be over
This grade will last as long
           as stars last

General Haze
McManus shines through same old-timer:
shopping cart cane baseball cap vest
“You get me all twisted, lady, all twisted”
leaf blows to one’s feet sultry walk past headphones
June, sun breaking through, more tight knock on


Employment Guide
New York Press
The Village Voice

bird chirp near I try to stay hidden
but can’t — I’m exposed on avenue, dogs sniff my toes
partial safety behind overflowing shrub
it’s heating up, Friday, last walk to work
there she is again in bright orange raincoat, tan baseball cap, red pants
lady brings a purple mini-dress home from cleaners with white dog mini-wolf-like

it’s funny I remember dogs and owners from walking Luis

Coffee Tea Bagel Donut
Muffin Croissant Soda Water Snapple

Another boom-boom girl goes by
boom diddy boom boom boom diddy boom boom boom — boom — boom

Add 4 lines, $80.
Unlimited talk and text.
No contract.

subway releases passengers onto sidewalk
now part of corner’s flow before 9 am
This could be the end of spring, summer hovering,
but still that fresh breeze at your back from river
that reminds you you are human, everyone you see is human
that couple in white shorts, two guys in PATH white pick up

guy with headphones, yellow plastic bag
girl on phone with two bags, one on each shoulder, pink and zebra
eight random New Yorkers in street waiting for light to change
father runs across with little daughter

They are meeting their day, are able to face what is ahead
this Friday, end of week, end of Spring, Summer coming

It is the time for moving, renovating

pressed too many desires
shade heat endless energy

Safeguarding Valuables
   Dunbar Armored

the kids play baseball
   the heat rises off the city

LACKAWANNA under haze
six huge portals a ferry’s curve
Victorian tower red blinking
large green structure within

a person holds certain structure
is gone several minutes returns
an intense silent conversation
telephone sky dark coffee tree

ferry shuttles blue Hudson
fresh day of all days
large Colgate clockface 9:05
turreted reception of souls

Gray Line Authorized
Papaya Dog
Toronto Maple Leafs
U.S. navy
the icon nestles
pink purple
lavender green
pale green
cream umbrella
he apologized
I’m the man on the corner
Europe Café
all my stuff in my hand

spray of hose

that’s my style
bright sun on 14th St. faces
almost invisible
in front of closed SLEEPY’S
but a Bjorned baby saw me
seeing-eye steed-in-training re-harnessed
there is a wispy, great, light through this city
easy t-shirts jackets hats
waiting for a taxi couple
braids sunglasses
tentative forefinger in air

people are mumbling about god
Dikembe Mutombo elegant in a suit

sign warning about a sign:
DANGER Sign & Maintenance Corp.
TOY TOY   oooooh...
article about an article
she broke the case
a beer, a beach
caught on closed circuit t.v.
the quiet of people banking
today is my friend’s birthday
that icon on the corner
where greatness was sold, died, and came back to life
a great defining light
takes across the avenue
hitting pockets on corners
Where’s the Sign ?!
two little girls hesitant
to order pastries at
wheeled stand

he takes his boy to school every day
doing business on his cell phone
crossing at red lights

I love re-starting

bright green spray on lock and grate
car filled to ceiling with yellowed newspapers, opened envelopes

“We didn’t make that decision...”

salt and pepper hair, scarf, sneaker-boots
dogs wait patiently outside deli

“Are you writing a poem?”
“No, just taking some notes before I forget”
well, it’s not a poem yet
though it is (all) poetry


           AU QUINQUINA

A brutal fact: The Giants lost.

he’s ON HERE

Still winter light through street alleys
paves a way to the West
a song heard somewhere in morning
words of others clarifying
bodies, frightened laughing thrill of children

hooked scarves now, beverages
shoes, not running shoes
tress on rooftop in
cold sun, one a bright red,
two bright green in sun
radar reflections cafeteria
smokestacks parabolic smoke

light strikes the body
on the avenue
I didn’t tell you
another thing
flat water
waves minimal etching
capacious structure
spire new outcrop across




temperature change on the corner
citizens emerge from underground into light
I am documenter:
how building height allows sun across avenue
spotted Vizla bounding at rope
Someone comes up, asks, “Is this a German Shorthair?”
begins petting, talking

colder, hazy
the day continues
      gets on its feet
man in overcoat, beret
man in shorts, cap, sweatshirt w/ dog

African nanny in head wrap strolls Latino baby
Tall blond Mom in work dress
with one mestizo kid on each hand
Asian Dad with nice haircut slowly
walks tiny backpack daughter
suave young office man walks tieless

normal term for a chair
morning light through leaves
black furry possibility

to put time into a picture
a face with hair blowing
a back of a head with hair pulled tight
seen in an instant in light

the heat in the atmosphere
has ended a certain type of poetry
low light over buildings
brightness of church side
           long shadows

“What are you doing?
           Writing notes?
About what?”

“Just stuff.”

“Just stuff, huh?”

must put pen to paper more

distressed markets

on the other side
art is being decided
by two people
at a small table

but let’s get back to you

if I have left something out,
           let it be

the many mourners happy
to see each other in
           the poetry

I can’t write anything today

but even that I thought
           of how to write...

so I am still a writer

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