That Fine Frown

There is the factory man and woman,
The American woman and the Chinese man,
She is large, he is nothing special.
They stay on the pavement in the cold,
One, with bad eyes,
The other pushes a dead ear nearer,
Bad English between them,
So they settle for nods,
A few good nods,
Never any smiles.

Winter. Summer. Spring, Autumn.
Shaking in falling coats,
Smoking, daring god and special things.
Usually, death comes to you,
In your sleep,
On your way to the dry-cleaners,
At a Yoruba wedding,
In a Mexican place.
Yet they are deep in sinking thought,
Dead ashes flutter to their boots.
I admire them,
Biding my own time.
Secrets in the breeze,
You can tell it’s a party,
But I frown past them,
Cos I take my fight with me.

There is honesty among the dying,
Hey man, spot me a stick?
No.
Hey sugar, got any light?
Yes.

At 11:30 sharp,
I frown and come around too,
I light a Camel,
They frown well,
The woman and the man,
Kicking moths and pebbles,
The perforator machine screams nearby,
It is all but lovely,
Beautiful enough a day to smoke in rambling chaos.

Other people with frowns come and go,
They talk of missing dogs, and union dues and missing gods,
And of the white bum who shot up a tiny black church,
Then they leave us – in peace,
It is a fine episode,
A singular intention,
The delicate intercourse of brown-tooth smokers,
Rituals in cold spaces,
In alleys, and wet corners,
We will make a damn good picture.

Frowning people walk to their oily lunch,
I know they think of us:
Life is a constant orgy and a cake, for these animals, they think.
Look, there is the nothing man, the tall woman, and the other one.
The tall American woman, the short Chinese man,
And the very black African man
She is large, he is nothing, and he is very black.

An ashtray altar sizzles,
Tributes paid early, ten percent of a stub,
To a vengeful Joe,
If death came in fired little sticks,
Then I fear, I would never die in time.

In the end, when I pay mine,
Finish an honest life,
Making the best of a bad deal,
I will perhaps wear it too,
That fine frown,
And this time, I’d wear it for life.

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