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DESTINY for FL, for VH


the K-mart picture of a flower pot cooks in splashed sunlight

and the wall broils a cup of plastic ice

two assholes you’ve never talked to in your life help

you shuffle to the shitbowl. Destiny presses

the numbered keypad while the phone rings,

circles your $3000 a week metal bed

shouting common everyday phrases as if

you were rock headed & deaf, a bum, a bum from Naples or graveyard Brooklyn,

a no-account pug, a scum with no connections


Destiny arrives with your handsome nephews, their wives

curvy in all the fine places, a commotion of earrings & silk dresses

Destiny favors that fat Irish bastard farting on the other bed

who is packed, waiting to be rolled out inside his lawyer’s bags

Destiny insists you drink your chicken broth, a toothless beggar

Destiny laughs because you won’t be falling asleep in that armchair

in your side office, Sambuca dangling from your sleeping hand

near the broccoli and grave vine draped wall in Forked River

Destiny scams you 3 times a week, a kidney machine

takes all your blood and only returns what you need

to feel cold again. And Destiny crayons your skin thin as an onion, yellow as October squash leaf

while you mumble shitty movie scripts, Destiny doesn’t listen

because Destiny only rubs her tits against lips that sing

Destiny has blue toes that stain your sheets

Destiny smoothes what’s left of your hair

Vaselines your mouth scabs, eyelids, ears

Destiny sits crossed legged on your chest

like a slinky Atlantic City stripper


in your lair on Queen Anne’s Ave in Teaneck

you clinked scotch glasses with Lyndon Johnson

that bloated cocksucker bastard, and tossed spaghetti

with Robert Kennedy’s lefthand FBI man

but you can’t find a dwarf Guatemalan nurse

when you need her to scratch your sandpaper chin


Destiny whispers in you ear, What do want want now?

Destiny reminds you that sleep is a gift

only she can give, your mistakes, both cheap & expensive

even fuckups racing with flying sharp elbows

to nothing, every deal you put together, all the people

you crewed wiped off the map, tutti niente


ten minutes could be never

or six eye sockets rolling around in the wind

could use up a year, Destiny opens

and Destiny closes again

You can’t complain, you can’t complain because

Nobody listens

What id you could and they did pay attention,

what would you say? Your solider Anger snears:

I’d slap those bitches away from my face,

those lowlife panyhosed queers with false teeth like razors

I’d read them the riot act in Florentine, in soft school boy Italian

then I’d make them wish their prostitute mothers had never had them


But Destiny is a cruel bastard and more, all business

a tall Sicilian spitting pint nut needles on a black horse without a saddle

bullets crisscrossing his fierce brown chest

his wolf gun at your head, his knife in your ear

his henchmen are bandits, like you when you wore a wide hat

on Carmine, on Elizabeth, on Sullivan Street

before the southpaws took over the restaurants


I’d like a side order of destiny, please, hold the mustard mayo and ketsup

Destiny is unrelenting, holds all the menus, but can’t read

Destiny wears a widow’s black dress, a torn rag

knotted at her neck, corn-powdered & sagging

Destiny serves the same soup again and again

but this time it’s the one you always like to remember

your best last meal of garlic oxtails tripe basil & rabbit

flies buzzing near your ears all around your halo head

out and down through the window to the courtyard

that you can only enter, a place no one ever comes back from

an alley between tenements crowded with cousins

you can’t see but can hear touch taste always

smelling of sliced onions raisined oil and burnt orange peels.

Destiny, Destiny is whatever you must eat next

without a tongue, without a flinch of trembling

Bobby Neel Adams, Buddha Memorial, Viet Nam, 2000
Bobby Neel Adams, Buddha Memorial, Viet Nam, 2000

-       1999-2002 av


Angelo Verga

Verga curates and hosts spoken word & poetry readings at The Cornelia Street Café.


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