Crossing the road with the crowd
Passed a boy with brown hair
He was going the other way,
With another crowd
Yet he picked me out.
His eyes caught mine,
Hazel and big
But he kept walking
Back turned to me then,
As he went to the other side

And I thought as I walked,
That he looked awfully familiar
Then I coughed
Because someone exhaled
Cigarette smoke into my face
I turned around again
To see if I actually knew him
But at that point he was too far away

I continued to walk down the block,
Walking many blocks
Paying no mind to the time the clocks tell
A lone saxophonist played
His music circled my hips
I couldn’t help but to sway
The passion he felt was evident in what he played
I wish I had that passion
Or at least enthusiasm
For something, anything
I paid him a dollar for the song,
Before moving on

And I thought as I walked,
That that song sounded awfully familiar
Then I coughed
Because someone exhaled
Cigarette smoke into my face
I tried humming the tune
To see if I actually knew it
But at that point its notes were forgotten in my brain

Rounding the corner of Bleecker street,
The pavement slapping against my feet
Passed a sex shop
Posters covered the windows and walls
Stragglers walked in
Drool running down their chins
And I remembered

I remembered as I walked
That the boy from before was an old lover
And that song was played when we first met each other
And the sex shop became my way to find satisfaction
But ultimately I lost all of my passion

Then I thought as I walked
That I had no idea where I was going
I opted to take shots
Because my memories were too noisy
I headed for the Blind Tiger
But money I lacked
Because I had lost my job when I was with my boss on my back

I remembered as I walked
Hating that I could still remember
I thought that I had forgotten what I forgot
All this stuff that happened last December
I suppose forgetting isn’t that hard
But forgetting what’s forgotten is the challenge
Perhaps with more heroin,
I’ll be able to forget
And find passion and direction.

© 2013 Vic Romero


  • jerbearinsantafe

    A powerful poem! Is there a story behind this literary work? As someone who worked in HIV prevention for over 2 decades, some of it doing street outreach late at night reaching out to injection drug users, sex workers, men cruising each other, and queer youth hanging out, the scenes described bring back memories. I also reflected back to visits to NYC reading what seemed like Greenwich Village descriptions, (although I realize there is also a Bleecker St. in Newark).

    • vicromero

      Thank you! I was inspired and influenced from a variety of sources and my own experiences…the Counting Crows song I included was a significant influence, but there is not one specific story behind this poem. Oh really? That’s cool that it caused you to remember that time in your life. Yes, I love Greenwich Village in Manhattan very dearly. I grew up roaming the streets there. One of the experiences behind this work occurred in Greenwich so I made it the location. The Blind Tiger is a real bar there.

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