That New York City Tongue

I hadn’t heard it in over twenty years:
the last time I heard it, he had played a Junkie in a film about himself
and the other night when I heard it again
that voice
that New York City tongue
that accent of
that kid
that delicate pallid junkie who shot hoops, dope
that poet’s alluring red-headed pipes that gave birth to junkies in New York
“who” hung out with poets like Ginsberg
“who” revered writers like Burroughs, Trocchi, O’Hara
“who” loved his friend Patti and lived with her sweet Maplethorpe
“who” worked at places like The Factory with Warhol
“who” probably got head from Candy
“who” collaborated with
Lou Reed
Ray Manzarek
the gods,
I knew right away who it was: that voice of New York poetry
(it had not been over twenty years that I’ve read his voice, just heard it see).
And he read and squirmed before the camera operators and crew
producers
executives
squirmed like a serpent’s poem
And Jimmy read (I think he’d let me call him Jimmy from what I’ve read about him: “sweetest man I know” “had the biggest heart” etc.) and explained how he played with a woman’s breasts. Turned her precious nipple like the dials on a radio 
and with total reverence for the woman who he robbed but adored intensely 
immensely
indefinitely.
And when I heard it again, last night on the computer, you see
a story about an old friend named Curtis
a crackhead in a nasty spot you see
he told the story with that voice that honest New York City empathy 
Not judgment
Not vexation
Just friendship
with that particular “charm” he already gave to dear paranoid Curtis
that voice of a New York City prince who grew up fast and died old and too young;
the modern-day Rimbaud
the male Patti Smith with that voice of a skinny pallid poet
that voice 
so sweet and tangible you can hear it just as righteously on paper,
and those sounds and vibrations I do
deem
immortal.

 

**This poem (about Jim Carroll: author of Basketball Diaries and some other amazing books) was written by me, Jon Vreeland.

**The photo I borrowed from YouTube: I took a picture of the tv with my phone:  yes I did 🙂 

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