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Dr. Quigley Walked Down 7th Street

2012 April 2
by J. Scott Mosel

Dr. Quigley walked down 7th street to enter Chinatown.

Amused by the big screen televisions, he stopped

for a moment  to stare at a commercial of butterflies

helping an insomniac go to sleep. Tender, sleep.

Last night he dreamt of long palatial hallways

In the hospitals for the damned, afraid to look sideways

into a room, afraid to see death,

the smell of feces in his nose.

He knew the dead were playing cards

And laughing at him, trying not to be dead.

He began to see damnation not as place,

but as time and choice, a relativity of chance:

a bag full of kittens thrown over a bridge, 

a prostitute fixing her lipstick and jumping over, 

a man driving by and laughing, wearing lipstick. 

He awakened to oblivion, and felt happy,

his chest so deep it would not fill with air.

He remembered the coming plague

and quickened his pace to avoid sidewalk rituals,

the bump and stare of a fellow pilgrim,

the shuffle of pedestrians, cars and trucks.

Naked against the press of buildings, pavement and sky,

he roamed his inner sanctum to make peace, empty his soul.

After all, he believed the city loved him, made him beautiful.

He imagined himself a small star, a white dwarf,

a distant nebulae full of gas, and then he arrived

at Oyamel, his oasis in this capital where idealoques

come to breed:  he wanted to eat grasshoppers.

Nothing would stop him from biting through the exoskeleton,

to feel the insect soften with chewing, and to chew harder

to feel the wet,  gelatinous organ center flood his cheeks,

soak between his gums. O Chapulines!

You are sacred. I will light a candle for you.

Later, at home with his keyboard and his ukulele,

His skin began to seep unctuously.

Time to leach! It was never too late

To leach, always time for one more bite,

one more song, and always the same time in hell.


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