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Morning Constitutional

1.  10th and Spruce Sts.

adjust a second to a just minute
minute particularly in the openings

Spruce yourself up to go        outside
your window to cars bump into each other

confrontation communication come on from day
should come out from there, shin splint, accident

each other to his Chrysler, talk radio waves
we the people greet weekend warrior, x approaching infinity

intersection's imperfection pecuniary union
driver's license to register complaint, assure insure

we hold these two to themselves indignant
"under the umbrella" hell of a day


2.  800 Spruce St.: Pennsylvania Hospital

hospitable corridors Franklinian history this
then patients walked in a Rush, a case of dry moat

you stay in your circle, a straight line toeing
ticket stubbers in the garden gawking (beg pardon)

chronic irritating erratum? we got 'em
learn how to swat 'em, top to bottom

General Versemaker Beggar couldn't get
a legacy up, become a pith-publisher

half owner with a haberdasher silent partner
invisible handout       Dr. Job's got nice

patients and an even nicer waiting room
always room for jello , she said by way of hello

scratching her hairnet           three sq. ft / day
into the halway, journeys on gurneys

into the street the air misting           dusting
for Poor Dick's fingerprints, nice work if you can get it


3.  702 Spruce St.

pass what was once an orphanage, sing an orphan's song
signs of orphans long gone     Mother Seton's

Sisters of Charity a rarity, nun thing
like a time disparity     passing Flemish trinity

playing Hookey (Andrew, Dorothy) rubbed off a grave stone
sing an orphan song "music that turns on

abandonment" reckless abandon from reck-
less endangerment     kingdom phylum class order

genus species          variety          you
endangered      sing an orphan's song: King Philip

can't only fool god, so very young   King Philip
came over from Ghana, so vestal, yes          King Philip

cease, onto fools gold, surely vastly yearn     King
Philip call orphan feet, go sing, vayas, yielding


4.  Washington Square Park

x unmarks the gravesbinge yellow purge black
take notice when it strikes it rich, gets off the river

mad dash 'old Rush of '93 odor of rotten coffee
mosquitoes mistaken for a bad cup of Joe

blood siphon blood let blood siphon blood let some get
wise, take a cold shower     bark wine and powder-D

at the Helm of the burial from Bush Hill to the Square
how you treat the Negro heroes treating you? Ab Jones

wants to know gotta stand accused of shit you didn't do
but the money's good, until you go too
give unto

Caesar Cranchal nothing he don't want      born black die yellow
all skin, melanin or no melanin, created to degrade

equally, it's brotherly six feet under   a democratic wonder
read all about it "at the sign of Franklin's Head"

GW splits town, fill the word-void with a namesake from down
South in a century where the (sut) loving ain't

good    sexual Harris-meant at ten Civil paces
or wait for a return, George alone kowtowing

to the scourge-survivors        Frost Bite Bites Skeeters
News at Eleven
  death conquering death around Richard Allen

Jan. 11th and the grass is damn green history's fables
make shitty fertilizer    bodies and bones growth hormone

who died to give you liberty    depending on who you is
but, yes, in fairness, gave it up asking freedom for a light

no dogs allowed        sniff or get snuffed
attend to a diverse Univers. or take a dive and do it then


5. 435 Chestnut St.: Benny's Place

Ben's Diner for dinner, didn't you dine
and hadn't you been with her? Whither the state

of us things?, me & my man over there, John Wilkes
in his booth, waiting on meatloaf. Phyllis & Claus

ordering Gene's special variety: the King burger, no bun
ten tiny juke boxes don't make a juke joint

even if one tells me about "mice elf" & everyone
gives thanks & someone shows up w/ a juju & people

this is the church, this is the steeple, steeped
in speech's staples - what's the word? On the street -

got some change?  At the bank - a ten, a five
and five ones
. At the willing street Wall - buy low & sell high.

At the wailing mall - feel low & get high. Here -
if the gravy make you sick & quit, blame it on the Jukes.

Wilkes btwn booths & the john: it ain't all bad
says he, come late for the eggs. we do. a new

crew pressed in by twos. it's raining. construction's
tunneling makes for thick puddles. we were all due


6.  Independence Hall

out of the diner into the finer   confines of sky
and scraper     face the face of The Signer clutching

his documents innocuously and fiercely since 1980
founding pop done in dark brown, possibly bronze

not stone        glad not to be bone     catching a cold
no viral spirals in bronze since '80      Dutch the master's

righting project, the Hall becomes a Heritage Site, dictionarily
fine diction placards printed at a Webster convention

old Noah rubbing elbows w/ Dan, apocalyptic visions in
four edited editions, printed in twos, Dewey decimal blues

shelf me, shelf me, Melvil Louis Kossuth D., keep Mr. W.
away from me           "a present Adams and Jefferson he

would denounce"       trounce       dewy-eyed just thinking
about it          to your right is the Hall, watch your step over

Kennedy & Lincoln's feet (old bronze feet) (old bronze feet)
we want nary a tarry, & no mixing with that Mick Commodore Barry

skaters play     indie tunes pending censor among the pendants
a human course which, the cops say, becomes necessary to

dissolve: to which replies and petitions for a decent respect, a
declaration of the causes which impel this castigation          no

truths self-evident, no equal lanes, though all this will end
up on a commercial     the revolution will not be full of eyes

the revolution will smell of lies, the revolution will not be
Hellenized, the revolution will relativize size, the revolution

will not be these guys, will not be Mellonized, will not revise
revolution rhymes: of, by, for, not of before; of, by, for, and not before


7.  3rd & Market Sts.: Ben Franklin House

scaffold or scaffolding?         standing between
3rd and 4th: there's a time-line-sign on 8th:

1682 Philadelphia founded___1932 cheese steak invented
___1997 Dawn Staley returns home. this is an accurate history

whether Dawn's early or late, everything's in order
scaffold or scaffolding?       steel beams to scale

neither a catafalque nor a catacomb be
the lines catalectic     resist catalogues, catalogic

on one side:            Colonial Penn Life insuring
flags tacking toward 5th               on the other:

TO LET: B. Franklin, Inquire Within           a right
into a passage white beaming passing for house

better that you've read what's dead? fight plaques of Ben's
sayings in this cavity, betraying weightier displays, weighing

one against the other  .  Savages we call them -- they think the same
lines rise refuse to be put to bed early  .  'We believed

all your stories; why do you refuse to believe ours?'
red man's deed goes punished . Franklin's salutations to the

Six Nations     don't want to play le'go my Eggo
with Canassatego     take a detour on the way to wealth

time lines up to be counted     1785 Ben's neighbors' favorite
laborers take apart a neighboring prison     a facilitated correction

or a relocation unremembered        unremembered in beams
after this?       BF got good and rich           some requisite hack

half-baffled     requisitioned the scaffold     others kept it
from folding, others do        in the dusk's surly light

Ben warms himself under three white steel beamed chimneys
with invisible cold air fire     a mom and two sons

enter the museum     follow phantom smoke to Market
we we we       having none of it       home or all the way


8.  847 N. 3rd St.: Ortlieb's

the belly laugh not the knowing snort
the dialectics of it was coming out of both ends

RT blowing his brains out on Cousin Mary
qua Polly Rhythmiana Jones compliments of

NC's comping saying something like Coltrane is not
my uncle's wife's daughter but Giant Steps is my

favorite uncle's wife's daughter for years and has been
run interference into inference        infernal note's

infiltration of notation, interior dialogue's infidelity
to formulations of inferiority's hierarchical farcicals

gets in your vesicles, infinity within a finished
cabinet's permeable wood paneling  .  impeccable impudence of

infidels infecting the pecking order in the public court
in a series of peccavis: for gettin me fatter

four eyes half-sent     half-unsent or
met half-way between us & them and us-send-them

keeping options operative in operatic acrobatics
open to distant aquatic whispers     another

one of these Gravity Ales for us, two of what she's having
keep 'em coming till there's two of her, created equal

stay till the night's through, maybe till we can't see
but in the early light hear something through the thunderous cant


9.  Kensington & Huntington Sts.: The North Philadelphia Needle Exchange

morning again now and again in Kensington
keep your eyes on the forms, what they were watching

learning to declare dependents, W2 blues workshop
the rest are at rest or restlessly rising

or under arrest        the games haven't been changed
to protect the indigent        the only change

asking for change & needle exchange
not, what's up doc? but, what's this look like doc?

cellulitis detritus        cold rush of '98, all's maintenance
early vernaculars rushing up, Bleed and purge all

Kensington. Drive on, Ben!    when then when then
who can sing Kensington, hum things of Huntington?

lots ain't vacant of cantation's acorns
plangently they play and plant against placation, no plain

speak or sailing among the plaintive, lots giving birth to lots
Bleed and purge all Kensington. Drive on, Ben!

little leaguers dressed like the Oakland A's marching in lockstep
among members of AA and AAA      .       who is the alpha?

among tables & trays, alcohol pads, antibiotics, who
is the alpha past      septic man and SEPTA

train who is the alpha mingling                             onto
Aramingo among stragglers and goers who is

the alpha home again             home again     who?
a statue, her lips hurting, splitwon't split her corner

a cornering under border guard's order or
a guarded ordering bordering on an underdogs corner restoration?

to resort or restore     question the heavens      she is like
the stars      you can't see the stars          she is like the

stars    she's never seen the stars      she is like the stars
there are no stars      people been driving on for hrs         AM

radio    proudly hailing cabs, bright cars beneath the underpass
there are three  .  she is three of them, in other words, drivers and

passengers both      proof that its morning, proof of ID, of purchase, of
still being here, the medivan arriving, the exchange beginning


[from Morning Constitutional (Spencer Books / Handwritten Press, 2001)]