I got this from a man on the street
in Richmond, circa 1964, who
offered me an easy job in his hotel
room overlooking the city park.
Dingy yellow curtains, a fake call
to the bellboy, tinkling glasses
and all that But the scene’s always
being set with such care to lure
the careless to the prearranged: the
verdict being sealed, one’s
goose being cooked, endless seedy hours
of preparation for the gullible
who come looking down-in-the-mouth, or
else riding white horses down
city streets where they don’t belong,
easy targets for the wary who,
with fat fingers and thumbs, lay the
cards out ahead of time, sit
back musing in fringed smoking jackets
or take to the streets where
even their footsteps are timed like
the precise distance between
echoes, or the letters in a name:
I saw him pacing outside a
grand hotel, his shoes looked up at me,
his rings were the color
of light I knew he had the goods so
I followed him, up in the air, then down.