New Occidental Poetry

Boston and Edward Upton Pickman

The ghouls may still be down there
in the North End, 
but your city is long dead. 

The prudes of Newbury Street hate wholesomeness
as a Midwestern import,
and the Beacon Hill crowd 
contemplates rape as a recreational activity. 

You wouldn’t, couldn’t shock them anymore,
Your models are nothing compared to heroin zombies 
sleeping between Roxbury and Mass Ave. 

Your cannibal scenes could not haunt the dreams
of Brighton High students with pregnant girlfriends. 
The residents of Roslindale, Dorchester, and Mattapan 
would call you “cracker,” not “degenerate.” 

Yes, your city is quite dead. 
Even the ghosts of gambrel roofs no longer haunt;
the cloying cobblestones of Hanover have swallowed up spirits
and replaced them with the smell of counterfeit authenticity. 

Your city is dead. 

-Benjamin Welton