It seemed they were sleaved from the same cocoon,
those doormen wove from the ruins of brutalist buildings
                                               beat to a wheezing plaster.

Obie would smudge a man’s nose
          into raspberry jam and then
                       buy a lobster dinner.

He’d wince at the spalls of petrol pressed
with the scarcely intimate lace of a looming
and ask about signs and birth stones,
sussing out fakes from ordained identities.
                                                          Just one evening,
the Bronco’s patio perched
like a train car trammeled or
stole through the loping oaks,
the macadam and swales slumped shouldering
seamless snow,
                             Obie and Fagan had
elbowed a man through the port hole,
all of the bar flies scrunched like
nymphs obscuring the skim of a kiddy pool,
cribbing the splintering stanchions, haughtily

gawking at some young stranger smudged and
stuttering, stumbling, scumbled across the snow,
a scabbing inkblot. He cried something illegible,

none of the spluttering stir or the tupleted gossip
framed the reason now three brooding boys had
urged him over the snow-swoln road tinged
buttery yellow with beaming lampposts.

A girl wept over a crowded corner, everyone’s
make-up slurred to a kind of Frankenthaler
none of them cared to talk about,
     all of them knew it already, and
nothing among the mincing meat
                             of mice and men might
                                      argue it otherwise—

there stood a man decried, and Obie’d
         the heaviest arm of the surly pride. The blood

lapped over and under,
the snow-swathed thumps no
more than a paint brush maybe
a manic Kline once
scraped across
floundering cotton. They left him

curled in the street like abandoned boots,
like licorice sickening Jim McKay, and Koope,
with whom I was just discussing a
ball of light he recalled having sat
on his headboard, keeping him company,
slipped through the stanchions,
meat that floss loosed unto a cankerous gum,
and decided he might try kick the can and
cracked his gum-swoln sole across
                                                                 Hey, Koope!
Stop. They’re calling the cops.

They’d called the cops, perhaps a Samaritan gesture.

Koope sweat through his sweater, left galvanized,
chipping quaint dirks of pine from the stanchions,
probing them into the idling elbows of muttering barflies. 

Obie conceived of a cut of meat.
Some patrons drank. Some patrons watched.
And me, left scrubbing a cigarette over the jawless limestone,

gawked, left swallowing bubbles of rank and sickly shock
and trying to summon the blood above cheek bones,
reeling, pale as the blood-swoln snow—

It was then I remembered that I was a universal donor
             who, ruefully, shamefully, never gave blood. No,
                       never gave blood, no,

hardly a paper cut,
hardly a scab picked.