division street

photo of Nelson Algren, NE corner Division and Damen by Art Shay

division street is queer tonight
and seeming still with siren lullabies
where paving stone pillows
once gave brittle faces
a stage for whiskey dreams
and the west village Villon
crammed hands in pockets
and let loose wisps of steamy breath and smoke
the specter of the suicidal clown
all stumbling junkie flannery
with naked words spilling out like blood from wounds
haunts the dives tonight
while self professed neo-bohemians
slurp beer from cans and pat passionate backs
bon follastre held at arm’s length now
trampled by baby carriages helmed by bottle-blondes
this used to be the center, albeit a sickly one
hell was born here, and borne out in plodding rhythms
by golden arms
but division street is queer tonight
and seeming still with opium vapors and siren lullabies