Switchblade Intellectualism


Switchblade intellectualism:
that’s the order of the day
in my fucking neighborhood.
Sometimes not even the most reasonable argument
or appealing remonstrance
will save your wallet
at 4 AM on Apgar Street.

I always fancied living in the Wild West,
playing Cowboys & Indians,
watching my back while I saunter down to the saloon
for some sweet whiskey and sour gash.
But I can’t buy a gun for another four years
(on account of trying to play Ezra Pound
circa ’45 or somewhere thereabouts).
And the streetwalkers out in front of the liquor store
ain’t exactly madams.
Besides, I wouldn’t get into a shootout over a 40 oz.–
that would be silly.

W. MacArthur: the 100th Meridian of Oakland.
It never rains in my neighborhood,
but the rain’s always a-comin’.

Dakota and I almost walked into Your Black Muslim Bakery
to inquire if they served bagels with lox,
and perhaps maybe just to show off a little.
How come there weren’t any Jewish gunslingers?
What the fuck do you mean, “honky?”
I’m Jewish.
I fucked up.
At least the West had gentlemen.
The dudes in my neighborhood ain’t gentle in the least.

I ordered a stiletto from Italy.
I promised myself I’d only use it if I had to.
Like if some savage doesn’t understand
that he can have my wallet,
but I’ll be damned if he takes my notebooks.

Why didn’t Ginsberg ever carry a knife?

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