Allen walks as if a coat of consonants
Protects him from streets that let him pass with maybe
A woofed out streetlight answer two blocks down.
Now, Albany is an old city where the traffic signs call
The birds: Lark, Partridge, Dove;
The walkups and the shotgun
Flats are built right next to the roads.
Here, stunting your own eyes to
Intruders in your line of sight is a virtue.
When Allen was manic he thought the people standing in
Front of him in the stores were stealing;
Customer service was in on it,
Anyone could join….the code was you said, Credit.
You could walk out the door with Adidas, or Marie
Callendar’s, head home free and clear
To your apartment, in light that switched through
Shadows like a cattail.
Everyone was playing.
Allen is not the only one bundled against the chill
In scarves and a long beard as if a bear, come to sit
Still in the city, taking the news rolled up to home,
Where he paints; the dishes recently done, sun
Lining the indigo plates
On a frayed towel. There are others,
I call them mountain men and wonder
Whether it means the twine of nature and defiance
Resonates like sun tea
Here where security comes as New Yorkers pay
Taxes. Allen listens like a John McPhee.
But by 8AM Monday, the ferocity of protecting
A job they can’t stand
Through a commitment to the Ticket
Is lost on a working painter.
His grief over their lives
Good token for a bus ride back from lunacy.
Yet if it were all true:
The Capital fell down like a draw-
Bridge, I think Allen
Would be called for. He might be occupied
Painting a memento of a carpenter’s son
Who gave fish and anger to the poor.