Alex: "How is your soul?"A SPONTANEOUS IDEA FOR A POEM OR HOW IS YOUR SOUL? (for Peter Gardner)
I'm tired. How is your soul?
Yes, yes, I'm working on new lyrics for a song, says
Dan the Man.
And my girlfriend is performing for the Alliance Theater.
That's great. But how is your soul?
Don't bother me, said the bum.
Yo man, whatcha talkin' about? You ain't got no soul.
No, no, how is your soul, man??
You Nazi honkey motherfucker, stop looking at my children.
Paranoia, hatred, poverty, despair.
Soul, soul, soul...
How is your soul?? How is your soul, man??
I ain't got no soul, been dead all my life.
And the working girls have no soul. They just want cash.
Whatcha doin' with yourself, man?
Don't look for no soul.
And blacks hate whites and men hate women and dogs
And the old drunks will piss on the sidewalks and the city
will smell like sewer.
How is your soul?
Hey you Nazi sexist, drinking Coors beer, I saw you checking
out my girl's ass.
There is no soul in paranoia bigotry. And every soul hides
behind the dog breath of blind hatred.
And yet I look inside the blackness, searching, searching...
There must be a soul some place around here.
Underneath the business suits, underneath the layers of fat.
I sit with Peter on a park bench.
I scream I WANT SOUL! out of my guts.
The intellectuals look at me like at a madman.
I am a madman. I don't understand art these days.
It has no SOUL.
And we walk, staring blindly into space.
This is a city of yuppies and cockroaches.
Hey man, you got a cigarette?
Here you go, but I want to see your soul.
It must be some place underneath those dirty lungs.
Sexy women, madmen, drug addicts.
I live in a solitary confinement.
Drink, drink, drink.
To avoid getting AIDS you gotta double up your man,* says
some guy at the jazz concert.
HOW IS YOUR SOUL, FOR GOD'S SAKE?
They wouldn't answer me and they look at me as if I were
out of my mind.
Panhandlers don't like me. They call me a Jew. But I have
no money to give them.
They don't want soul, they want a hamburger and a cigarette.
I don't know and Peter doesn't know.
And we sit at Atticus, drinking coffee and watching all
the women going in.
Then we go to the Anchor.
Maybe it's a waste of time. This soul business.
The poor don't have it, the rich don't have it.
Little by little the beer will take effect and I'll feel
drowsy. And fall asleep.
The whole world is asleep.
A cheer for the soulless.
How is your soul?
Leave me alone.
Join the Hare Krishnas. Become vegetarian.
Don't masturbate so much.
And as I sit here and think about soul, I want to walk out
into a big field and just lie there, looking at the sky.
There are no parking meters there, and no one will give you
O lady soul. What sad eyes you have.
Once I was a rainbow but today I'm a garbage truck.
It's all gloomy in this city.
I want to leave but I have no place to go.
O my soul, O my love, O my loneliness.
I drink your sweet perfume and cherish your tender touch.
In your mellow wine I will dissolve all my heartaches.
How is your soul? I'm tired. But deep inside I'm smiling,
I kiss you, New Haven. I embrace all the bums, the pimps,
the hookers, the drug pushers, the insane, the yuppies,
the retarded, the lonely, the fat, the unwanted, the dying,
the hating, the hated, the invisible, and the weeping.
I AM YOUR SOUL.
My heart beats with you, New Haven.
I welcome Yale and the slums.
And as I retire to my bed, I take you along with me.
*"double up your man", i.e. put on two condoms.
August 13, 1987