Two Poems by Deirdre Flood

“I am a Roving Gambler, How do you do?”1

And the blue guy is gonna pop out from behind a car
Cause Mwani says ‘you’re the chosen one’
This morning turning on Grand from Calamus Avenue
Three butterflies danced by the metal poles on the bridge.
The ones I used to walk along gripping the chain link
Till my ankles buckled. Scared that the fence would give in
And I’d go tumbling, plummeting to the L.I.R.R. tracks below.
I stopped even though I was gonna be late cause…
they were so close. Fluttering.
I got out of class a minute ago and stood outside smoking.
Mwani knew he’d find me there. My addiction makes me predictable.
And I joked with him about someday when I don’t want to wait
Till class is over. I’m just gonna cave and smoke in the stairwell
On the 7th floor. No one has the balls to walk up seven flights anyway.
‘don’t do it’ he says.
‘I’m gonna make you come with me’ I tell him.
so we laugh, about the way certain people talk,
about mothers with babies plowing through streets with strollers.
And how
Hey. Its my sidewalk too.
But that’s not polite, this isn’t Tiananmen Square lady.
He laughs, I laugh.
And a butterfly floats up from behind my shoulder.
He tells me and makes jokes about how they’re drawn to me.
I tell him it isn’t funny. That shit happened earlier.
Maybe they know something we don’t maybe normal people
Would feel like Lily in Legend or Sarah in the Labrynth.
Whoa hoo prance prance prance. I’m a beautiful forest lady
The butterflies like me.

But I’m reading Stephen king this week.
so I’m leaning towards.
HOLY SHIT WHY? WHY ME? pretty soon there’ll be birds and balloons and sewer grates and pennywise will RIP OFF BOTH MY ARMS that’s what they know those fluttering fools
like smelling roses
devil don’t take her
flowers and death
and everything is evil

I can’t tell him any of this he’ll think I’ve lost my mind.
So I leave. He leaves.
And I waltz back up the stairs in the C building.
The ones that I know will soon steal my dignity
And catch the rubber on my shoes
And I’ll go tumbling in front of everyone
Breaking my glasses, glasses I don’t have.
And lay in humiliation on the black tiles.
But it hasn’t happened yet.
So I walk up the stairs

Class is normal. I yelled at some snot nose English major
Cause a couple of em were being all
“bla bla…Stephen king isn’t literary…I’m a pompous bitch”
I was sitting across the room.
I flipped.
And the peanut gallery instigated with the “ooo”s and the
“she said you don’t know shit”s
he was astonished. ‘but she’s usually so
reasonable’ that must have been what he thought.
But none of these kids have ever been on the other
Side of one of my argumentative opinions.
I’m positive none of them want to be now.
I can’t help it.
I yell even when I’m not that mad.
King pisses me off too, but I feel the need to defend him
He picks up the book on his desk. The Stranger.
“Why can’t ah-anyone beh-be poetic anymore?”
he stutters.
Fuck you man. 7 kids cutting their hands open with
A coke bottle in a junkyard
is poetic.

I’m surprisingly not steaming all the way to the train.
but the crazy train people. Rush in the doors and fucking hover in the area between them
What the fuck is wrong with standing in the seated area?
Are you afraid that your ass will be eyelevel with the seated passengers?
Are you worried that someone will reach out their boney arms and
And tap you on the elbow.
Because I’ve come across some loons in the New York City subway.
But that has yet to happen.

They don’t. so I shove them. I plow through them
like the mothers with strollers on the sidewalk except
I look angrier because I don’t have a baby.
And I’m a bald white girl who wears leather.
So they grill me
I can feel it through the 800 pages of King raised up to my face.

And we escape, human cattle running for the stairs.
My nose is still in this book.
Reading while walking up Grand Ave. from the train station
I can see blurred images of my navy blue converse hitting the concrete
Behind crisp words, like a mirage.
Like something really far away.
1. In Peter S. Beagles book “the last unicorn” a butterfly lands on the unicorns horn and this is the first thing he says in conversation. He’s referring to a folk song, because butterflies “all they know is songs and poetry and anything else they hear.”(Beagle 13)
An Ode To Allen Ginsberg

Im with you in Maspeth
Where the graffiti maps,
Directions, where we knew every
Artist and every crew.

I’m with you in Maspeth
Where for some fucking reason
Something worth telling
Happens nearly everyday
If you know where to look and who to fuck with
Remember when we did?

Im with you in Maspeth.
Where the train tracks split neighborhoods
And string em together
All at once.

Im with you in Maspeth.
Where the swings at frontera
Are too low to play bloody

Im with you in Maspeth
where the swamps are buried
beneath these roads
Can you feel them?

Im with you in Maspeth
Where you must be…

Im with you in Maspeth
Where mar and I first met outside the 24
Kicking converse
High above the
Telephone wires.

Im with you in Maspeth
Where you never walk on grand
between two thirty and three.
Damn 73 kids.

Im with you in Maspeth
where every homeless person knows us by name,
The ones that speak anyway.

Im with you in Maspeth
Where the water doesn’t let you leave
Its those swamps.
Those quick sand stories
The ones that you told about
the guys you ran with

can you tell one?

Where you lost 17 cigarettes
to a lunatic boyfriend
who threw them on the train tracks
when you were fifteen.
Where that kid got stabbed and we ran
Up 57th towards the scene. Instead of away.
Where that hair place used to be. Didn’t
his mom work there? Its been a construction site
for 14 years.
Where they wanted to have that rumble.
Where they threw bowling balls at trains
Where they grew up
Where they climbed chain link
Where they hid from cops
Where they wrote on walls
Where they hungout on corners
Where they broke up weed
Where they played ball
This Place.
I’ll show ya,

Deirdre_FloodDeirdre Flood hasn’t published several books and doesn’t live with her kids in the suburbs. She is a student at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, New York, studying writing and literature. She writes poetry and creative non-fiction and has received awards from Random House, the YoungArts New York Regionals, and the Police Athletic League’s competition in art and poetry. Deirdre likes to walk on train tracks, and has never been convicted of a crime. She is a reigning Rock Paper Scissors Champion and competitive chain link fence hopper.

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