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On the Boardwalk In Atlantic City

ISSUE:  Autumn 1985
Early September,
and the day still a nymph of a day,
the ocean a rippled silk handkerchief,
the sandy flat beach
cool, without bodies yet packing their density
into its planes,
empty cabana tents, striped gold and white for recognition,
the inevitable middle-aged man
with a metal-detector gliding his wand over
the beach.

We hug our paper cups of hot coffee and tea
sit on the cement benches
of a shaded pavilion
and survey the others out here at 9:30 a.m.

We are waiting for the casino at Caesar’s Palace
to open its doors, 10 a.m.
Waiting to grab one of the few nickel slot machines
to play for three or four hours before patience
and $20 run out. We wish
we were in The West,
Las Vegas,
but instead we are in this old crumbling
place, sleeping at The Flamingo Motel.
Oh, what are we doing to change the world?
Now is the time to go West.

I want to be headed
for Liberace’s house on the desert,
the Greenhouse with
the chandelier,
the station wagon with a whole set of piano keys
painted along its side.
The desert and
atom bombs, some
sense of myself
in territory I recognize.


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