the beacon

I swallow the last drops
of New York City water

in my Minneapolis apartment
put the empty metal bottle in the sink

today is the 30th anniversary of my first trip
to Minneapolis

I flew the same route
LaGuardia to MSP

crossing over a piece of Canada
and some of the Great Lakes

I didn’t know then what I know now
about the quality of water

in those Manhattan rooftop tanks
and interior pumps

there’s a map that reveals
which ones have been inspected in the last year

and those filled with whole pigeon
and squirrel bones

the Hotel Beacon passes the cleanliness test
some days taste better than yesterday some don’t

I stopped darkening doors decades ago
when I lived among the guns I never felt safe

the one entrance does not lead
to the other exit

the wound I blame on the man behind the door
bears no resemblance to his blistered fingers

he no longer lives there
I no longer live inside

that wound
merely visit it on occasion

when I stay in the Hotel Beacon
drink its quality water

and marvel at my 11th floor view
of the Ansonia across Broadway

I remember some other firsts

experiencing the grandeur inside the Beacon Theatre next door
seeing him and his infamous Minneapolis band play live there

he wore a tattered white button-down shirt
he was drunk I was sober

it would be the reverse
when we finally meet in the Flats years later

Johnny Thunders opened and they didn’t play
Johnny’s Gonna Die

Johnny Johnny Johnny
he would be dead by the time of that Cleveland enounter

New York City
Minneapolis

how did I get here
I will never put home in a sentence that doesn’t include both

One thought on “the beacon

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