For Gil Scott-Heron (I'm New Here Too)

I'm twenty-one years old
and you seem older than the hills
yet you're new here
and I feel ancient.
We're hard to get to know,
I agree, but I'm easy to forget,
it seems. I'm waiting
to write poems like you, Gil,
I'm waiting with the mist
on my mind, floating
up through my nostils
on the midnight wind
in the magic hour. I breathe
deep and clean until
my vision is shaky
and I can hardly stand.

Then it comes to me:
a thought floating out
of the night (which,
in the city, never darkens)
and I catch it
- my perception is acute,
even if my will faulters.
I draw the enigma
out of the orange sky
of smokestacks and gazometres,
overpasses and bus shelters.
I pick it from the corners
of billboards and from
under litter bins, between
a sleeping vagrant's teeth,
pull it through the blades
of a local green
and into the road
with the pigeons
and drunken stories
gathered up from
newspaper clippings.
- Her with her tits out,
with all the opinions
on me and you, everything,
better she tells it;
I wouldn't be taken
seriously, no second glance,
they may as well have
seen straight through me,
I do, anyway.

That thought I had,
pure as the gum
on my shoe: I picked
that up somewhere too.

I've gone pretty far
now; I have to make
it look intentional.
I did it on purpose,
I heard a poem
on a street corner
and made a turn,
blind as a farmboy
in the age of bluesman
who played slide guitar
and women like cards.

I'm here thinking this
in an old place -
it's a good thought
and I'm new to it.
I'm having fun
so I'll make
the rules up after
I've summed up
the scores, let's
see: one to me,
a handfull of revolutions,
a record deal and
fisherman's hat for you.
Let's start over;
I've got troubles
like everyone else,
no eagles on me,
no broken homes allowed,
we'll keep our voices
of reason, we can
always turn around.