Gentrification – Mary Petralia

Mary Petralia

He says the potential hides inside;
the upbringing won’t let it go.
He says go into Brooklyn bars and take notes
on the interesting stories people tell while they’re drunk
as if I did not already know the drunkest story;
mother retches into toilet at three in the morning,
varicose-vein legs curl under the butt
(then knee-push to chest like birth),
mildew stain in the shape of South America centers
into bathroom tile like a map to so many nowheres
(the Staten Island of southernmost Argentina a black
dot between long toes that flex and curl
with each convulsion). As if I did not know
paramedics have a tendency to roll their eyes.
I’m happy alone in my head—I gentrify me now—
where I unrealistically surmise that if I read about
a Tom Vek concert in the “Night Life” section of The New Yorker
then I’ve somehow actually attended it and thus I can join the ranks of those
musicians and night club proprietors lead complicated lives…
who oh-so-hip-ly know who Tom Vek is and isn’t his music like so much shiny things?
it is advisable to check in advance to confirm engagements.

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