Zoe Strauss, 4th of July BBQ, 2011, inkjet print/web-based image/digital projection, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.
The Blue Stoop
Who remembers the blue stoop?
I am laughing at the question—Who?
Everybody. All the names.
Like an early book of the Bible,
it isn’t just names, they go deep
and make three wide steps, three
very wide steps, an everywhere.
There is Franny and Tina.
Amy, Gary, and George. Dawn Ann
and her red-headed brother Bobby.
BA, Matthew, Paula, and Rob.
Tommy Fliss and all the Flisses.
Goddamn Steve Fliss. Steve
Anthony’s mother is leaning out the window.
Does she ever go out? Yes, every day.
She leans out the window all day long.
Anthony’s uncle played the trumpet.
Everybody knows that, but when we say
he played the trumpet
we mean he played with everybody.
Yes, Tony Bennett, but have you ever heard
of Al Martino? Guy Lombardo? People,
big bands—he played with them all,
and in some third-floor heaven he still is.
People say, Once upon a time a call was a dime.
They say more than I can say here.
They say, Don’t forget where you’re from,
but I don’t have to, because I never left.
Recently somebody said the blue stoop looks smaller
than it used to.
I guess they know what they’re talking about,
but don’t tell that to Michael, Michael, and Michael,
and a generation of Roses weaned on a fresh coat
of swimming pool paint every few years.
All the dirty kid faces that will never be clean.
Those are my faces.