City of pickpockets and the dead

City of pickpockets
And the dead…

The Hondoran cabdriver
Points to the full moon
(solstice, eclipse)
Says: it is my favorite
How do you say it
In English?
My favorite…astro…

A sign in the bar:
And at the voodoo shop
(feathered boas, pole dancers, palm readers)

And for some unknown reason
Every other block
A reflexology parlor
(Chinese? Vietnamese?)
As if the foot
Were a map
Of the city
And the city
A map
Of the world.

City of pickpockets
And the dead…

No oysters in the little hotel
With its fountain
Of boys riding dolphins.
Necropolis of vaults
Ominous oven-shaped graves
Above ground so the dead don’T float
In a city where the living
Floated–a dog, a child, an old woman
In a wheelchair,
Where X, the universal sign for rescue
Is X’d on the voodoo graves
In groups of three
And I, who am accustomed
To light candles
Won’t leave a copper penny here.

Across the destroyed ward
It is Al Baba still
Where the robber king
Marks the door
Of his intended victims
With a chalk X;
Next morning every door
Is marked.

The silver mime
Turns on the corner
Yells at a tourist
Who fails to tip
“How’m I gonna buy
Dog food…”
A girl belts out
“There’s gonna be a heartbreak tonight”
Which for years I thought
Were lyrics saying
“There’s gonna be a party…”

And the beautiful ass
Of the stripper
Simmers in an argentine G-string
Girdled like hoochie-coochie
Who rises
From this
Muddy water.

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