Cloud white slather
—a poem by Wayne Burke

Cloud white slather 
above brown brick block;
     a telephone talker,
     a chick
     running into bank
     for last minute withdrawal,
     businessman with attaché
wine-salesman or maybe heroin-seller,
     hillside houses scattered
     like dice among
bare trees, brush, brown-green;
     office workers going home
     to grub
or to Irish pub on noir-ish side street
     by jewelers' sparkling windows
     on corner...
Chubby high school girl
     wearing green Celtics' jersey, walks past;
I hear screams of punks on Brooklyn Street
     (where shooting was last week)
church steeple an up thrust dagger into
     cloud slather
purr of cars from Prospect Street;
     my back to pine tree
     my prospects few
     (could be worse)
pine needles at my feet
twigs, cones, chewing gum
wrapper, butt...
I should do something to get out
     of here,
     but what?

Wayne Burke's work has appeared in FORGE, miller's pond, and Northeast Corridor. He was poet-of-the-month in Bareback, 7-13.