For David Blair
and the city of Denver

By Paulie Lipman

Somewhere in this apt building
a guitar is being strangled
not the erotic asphyxia of Hendrix
but the rope a dope of a past prime boxer
who sounds like he still has his gloves on
I say,
Rock on Marciano
if it keeps you from beating your wife

The same wind
hotter than molasses ass in Ju-ly
sends me sickly smooth jazz from 16th Street
a group of perfectly nice people
are committing the worst type of hate crime
against Motown, beating the round off it with
pillow weight hands, Jim Crowing that historic house
into corporate sculpture

And the outdated trains bring rhythm
And the too many cars rumble bass
And the screeching club girls lend tenor
And the relentless, keening harmony bounces
5 Points to Foothills disjointed and free form
cacophony of intrusion
a song of trespass, the wailing cry
of progress and protest to it
brought to Denver in the throats
of railroad workers
in the eyes of prospectors
in the bellies of miners
and finally
bashing crescendo against
the grey steel and digital of now
’till the night closes its ears
and la la la’s out another sunrise

9 am church bells peal
the groans of a thousand hang overs
the tire whine of another underpaid workday
rolling a new libretto over the whisper of
native phantoms’ ground down bones
that pave these streets, our operetta
may seem bitten
the notes cannot be anything
but unique
The jagged mountain sharps
colliding with the flats of attempted
metropolitan trappings and attitude
following the odd meter of our history,
shot through with explore
strip mine
Wild West
Klu Klux’s
too many dead children
and yet we
still sing
The unique altitude
swims the heads of
transplants and native born
and we all move to it
are a city of samples

today roared in with a
black cannon gut punch
a vast wail
The last aria
cried from your shining,
Chrysler grille of a throat
has left my city silent
I am afraid there will be
no parade for the likes of us
Those who attempt to gild,
gold leaf this cold calamity
of an existence
There is no collection of
marching polished brass that could
herald your too soon legacy, but
I will try
I will weep
I will gnash
I will davenh
I will Kaddish
I will Shiva
I will dance
I will celebrate
I will Jubilee
I will remember
I will climb to the tallest point
of this Mile High and let the
god wallup of your going shoot
ticker tape through my teeth
each shred stamped the words
Royalty Skyward

and then finally, I will
scream the sky violet, like
you always wanted
But I will not sing,
and nor will Denver
the sky and wind over us both
will be as static
the streets are
scrambled, untuned radiowaves
will be the silent procession
for a gorgeous monster

maybe tomorrow
I will remember beauty
as the chorus this city bellows joyous
beneath my feet will return, reunited
with your Detroit gracenote
The symphony of every piece of machinery
in the Chrysler plant raising their
twisted metal arms to heaven and coming down
a choir of sparks to carry you home
maybe tomorrow
will sing

Paulie Lipman is a poet/writer/musician/performer out of Denver, Colorado. In addition to extensively touring the U.S. and Canada, he has just put out an album of poetry with music, The Obscene Gravity of Silence. His work has appeared in The Legendary, Borderline, and the Write Bloody Publishing anthology, The Good Things About America.