The Day Michael Died / by Alex Williamson


After Frank O'Hara

It is 4.40 in New York a Thursday
Five days before my 30th birthday, yes
It is 2009 and I am looking for America
Because I landed on the 11.15 to Kennedy
at 3.15 and then went straight to dinner
and I don't know the people who will feed me

We walk up the muggy street Broadway
just starting to boogie in the brilliant sun
and have a hamburger and beer and begin
taking pictures to record what the people
in New York are wearing these days

And as I bob up Broadway
a mobile beat-box buzzes by
hissing synths and a lisping voice
denying the facts of an illicit affair
we stick to our route New York
beginning to shine now cornucopia
of neon coating Times Square
crowd grown very thick I think
as I enter still snapping pictures
of the faces the craning heads
changing from wonder to dread in the flicker
of Fox News reporting 'King of Pop Dead
at 50' some crying others baffled
and tomorrow morning every commuter in the city
will carry a New York Post with

his face on it

and I'm sweating a lot by now and thinking of
being four years old and seeing for the first time
a street lighting up as he stepped along it
the boy who just stopped breathing