Alex Patriquin

Marginalia & found poetry. Short fiction and other projects. Musings  on startups. Photos from NYC and travels.

Rhymes with Schenectady

I walk through the old train yard, near
The wrongo’s camp. I sit on a bench 
Watching outsider artists forage
For readymades. I’m no longer a digit.
I can’t go through the trouble to lift a finger - Not Peter Pointer, not
Ruby Ring and certainly never
Thom Thumb the bastard who dropped us 
Into this soup to start with with all his 
Opposing and hitching and grasping.
Not to mention his jones for plum pies? 
Some days the blackbirds aren’t all wet.
Of course, sure, Thommy has his moments. 
For instance, he’s essential in drawing 
Gladiatorial bouts to a close. But
In case you haven’t noticed—this isn’t Rome! 
Rome is 130 miles north of here.
Here is where I sit in a defunct station 
Like a snowy owl’ in August. Here
Is a town that’s chic to pronounce but hard
To spell, and I know you know what that means.
The big engines haven’t whistled through 
These parts in decades, says my guidebook. 
Some blame the Erie Canal. Some fault
Cars or planes or matter transporters. 
Each one a nasty piece of conveyance.
But as a clinical herbalist
I’m not able to take sides. So I lick
Baby Small and stick her in the air
To see which way the wind harangues. 
Unfortunately, she’s mistaken
For Toby Tall and the locals are none
Too pleased. But things work out. These days 
A man like me can’t afford to turn down
Tar and feathers and a rail out of town.
Some days the blackbirds aren’t all wrong.

by Peter Jay Shippy in Six Finch