Jeremy Freedman

White Light, White Heat

I didn’t quit smoking to watch you catch fire now, 
so surprise when an asteroid comes zigzagging 
down, coming for you and your little dog too,
bird-dogging Earth’s last-chance saloon, ululating,
Look at melook at melook at me!, in ragged tenor, 
like an aging rock star trying to bring
the sexy back, its craggy twisting face 
reflecting light, looking forward to the tristesse
of human contact, emphasis me, when I was younger,
outside the old A & P in Ardsley village, 
every counterpoint crow in each italic tree 
is the same fornicating apparatus 
of abstract truth and unstable memory’s 
hunger, trysting with the endless electricity 
that sparks and blooms like a tropical flower 
with her velvet finger up the ass of Morpheus. 
I imagine there’s a hidden laboratory secreted 
in Con Ed’s substation on Avenue C where 
a quorum of cats go to pray for a little yes 
and a great big no and a secret Santa distributes 
his goodies and the snow of yesteryear disappears 
up the nose of the chimney and turns to ash
that blows away in the overheated winter
sky over Manhattan’s mighty river fortress. 
We all once wore the angel wings
and other garments of New York grace,
pace Auden, pace Ginsberg, pace Lou Reed
and Charlie Parker, about suffering 
they were never wrong; they dared sing 
about it at medicated leisure and looked 
upon the sun’s twisting face. We and they
were all at once seized by similar hope, 
that suffering would be vanity’s pleasure. 
I hope there’s a place their feathers go 
when they turn to fire, I hope they don’t forget 
to recycle the ashes of a father’s memory 
when the asteroid comes staggering down 
with the crystal crack of brittle dawn 
and shatters the night like a blissful
drunk landing a sloppy kiss.

Jeremy Freedman is a writer and artist living in New York City. His poems have been published in 2 Bridges ReviewPioneertown, Queen Mob’sCleaverOtoliths, and elsewhere. His chapbook Apophenia (2017) is available from Finishing Line Press. His photographs have been exhibited in Europe and the United States and have been featured in numerous journals. More work can be seen at and on Instagram @jfreenyc.