The hip gentry

love like mad
mad like love
some people don’t like
poetry, it can all seem so very frivolous when the bodies stack
up, when the earthquake rumbles and decimates and
sighs its resignation, when chance or a hard-on has
left you with a bullet in your side, odes and sonnets just
aren’t hip let’s face it
they are the flowery enemies of the very market forces that forever seek out the hip
in dumpsters, in coffee shops, in your underpants
hip drains us all
of any kind of meaning
beyond our appeal
hip is the new currency that can elect and bankrupt
hip sells more cars than Henry Ford ever did
I am not hip and
neither are you
reading this poem has made
you less hip by 1/12 x 7 %
multiply that by √ 7 and you will have orgasms gushing out of your nose
and that is definitely not
hip, your city
would be a brilliant city if you
didn’t live there
I don’t mean that as an insult
I just mean
to say that if you could step
back and view it from the
kind of perspective one
only gets in Nebraska
in between the ears of corn you
could view your shimmering citadel,
spires gleaming beyond waste
disposal areas, your beloved skyscrapers
would glimmer all the greater from a country lawn strewn
with tires and old dolls, it may benefit you spiritually to
stare at your city on the horizon
with the smell of manure in your nostrils
inside a truck full of Mexicans telling bleary-eyed tales from the twelve hour workday
their laughter the worm
in the tequila of their pain, it may benefit you financially to
talk about the old neighborhood to a former minority resident
pushed onto some monotonous strip mall highway
while your urban friends paint frescoes all over his old walls
Gentrification, Oh Gentrification
please tell me of your splendid ramifications
are we young artists any better than Custer
when we invade and displace with every band member we can muster?
give me your mullets, your Budweiser, your slack-jawed meth-heads
your fundamentalists speaking in tongues performing exorcisms on chickens
your trailer park messiahs beaten down with nothing left but football to believe in
your teenage prostitutes looking to score drugs in the parking lots of fast food chains
your customer service sweethearts slingin’ fries and losing too many Friday nights they will never get back
I see the poetry in
you, the contemplative gasps in
dangerous places, the depths of
feeling on impoverished faces
I loathe the sterility of the hip
urban non-smoking Zen gardens of
the urbane, white-walled and white-populated
houses of the insane
all you forsaken children of the country
and spurned lovers of the ‘burbs
who now find yourselves held dearly in metropolitan hands;
your sheets are steamy like sewer grates at a one a.m. stop light
above which you make love in positions that rival architectural visions
staring into eyes as blue as cop’s uniforms and the frozen lips of the homeless they march out of town
arms and legs crossed like exit ramps as the traffic rushes, speeds, and honks through your heart,
you must love this city
do not treat her like a fling
for all those doomed to tread forever upon aisle three of the Wal-Mart
on some journey for towels that just never ended
passing the bullies and scoundrels, progenitors of their dysfunction
in that long row of bathroom accessories under torturous fluorescent lights
can you feel their gaze behind you
in the halls of the museum?
can you smell their unwashed feet
in the restaurant owned by the world famous chef?
can you hear them burping and laughing
by the watercooler of your office?
can you see them drinking six-packs
watching the joggers run by in the park?
so many dream of entering the vagina of a city
that sparkling womb where we all dance in amniotic fluid
in the hottest club where we all sweat beats
and you laying with such a rapturous beauty
releasing poetry between the steel girders of her loins
are you really too hip for enjoyment,
too hip for the carnal, too hip for the divine?

Benjamin Schmitt


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