our lady of herkimer

burnt    sage  and wine, companion
  prarie father  of Brooklyn all
covered in smoke.

the altar- boy was vanquished,
   a  skeleton now  remains,
putrid  faith,  fetid hallway doom.

back from hamilton,  firm and clean and
 wanting for a dollar;  nothing four-fifty can't solve.
he's a   broken  song shouting and
  no  one knew where he came from.

some say she's  as old as the tenement flat she haunts,
  a force of nature forcing children to their 
calling,    a bag of white out  and dust-borne prose, she:
listed some fury, scrawled out on a wind paper, tumbling to a home
she,  spat  out old  heartbreaks  after whiskey poetics met with
    filterless  cigarettes and broken waves of everlasting sadness collided;
oh woe,  woe unto the watchers
and cast them to the darkness,  the call rings true to broadway
    and no farther.

i was listless and lazy and stupid and the gutter was my home
  on  a thursday  dawn so silent, the  dawn-birds flew  to the poplar trees.
so impossibly sad and happy and manic and fallen,  i fluttered  from the j.
jackson cooper  called on a payphone wet with tears and i followed.
up three flights  of stairs to a bottomless mishap and no  chalk-tongued laughter
     persuaded.

"there's no home in these hills,"  and he was right.
no church in this ancient wilderness of winos,  water-mouths and sobs
    so i waited to til  a sicilian armed sunday
  to make my move.

a   bread-loaf covered in sin is no meal.

we  are the lucky ones,
the holy ones,
the soulful ones, blessed in dispicable madness and she told me so.

so impossibly sad,  a distraught lullably rang through the clouds,
   like  a bird-lung shriek and reckoning.
so haggard and filthy, trailing a cape of sin shining with the 
    sweetest     grease  a city-boy would ever taste.

black out drunk and lulled  to sleep, i followed on the bloodline of this
   wicked city,  dribbling saliva  and sulfur on a
 youthful,      empty  chest, open with no cover for st. christopher.

     the lady, both great and terrible,  proudfooted and bile-bellied
  broke the silence.
"there is no home in these hills" an echo called.  she asked me for my last dollar
	and i balked, booted.   but these hills are just a shadow
     of    an   illuminated city, with a thousand eyes and
   vocal chords made of    ash   and sand.   she,  the archangel  of a
  mispent  adolescence    turned from  me,  red-eyed and reeling and i
    left that   broken toothed beauty  in shame.

years have passed.


i am a man now, more in looks than character, but mannish, a fool all the same.
   from my home i walked, a thousand,  no
        one million steps  to sit  at the lighthouse and cry.

there is no home in these hills.
no echo in the call.
we are bountiful meal for the mouth of a quiet malice.
when the summer turns to shadow and the winter of my years remains,
    i'll return to that  beautiful hellmouth
   and   give her my hand,
  for that is all     that  i've 
	not squandered.