Sheila-Na-Gig online


Patrick Bower


Patrick Bower lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY. He holds degrees in English and Classical Literature from Indiana University and supports his poetry habit with a career in copywriting. His work will appear in 805Lit in the Autumn of 2016.

One Bad Mother (To Lou Reed)

Like you, I came here to take a long walk,
to sun myself under the neon like a pupa
who can’t decide whether to fly right
toward the light or to wriggle deeper

into its cocoon, but Lou, I’m beginning
to see the light, alright? I’m beginning
to trace your path from Long Island to
lower Manhattan, to Kansas City, to

gilt factory floor shows, to 3-night days
stabbing blindly into the vascular
hallways of temporary celebrities
and all the little mothers who paint

themselves like mothers but whose
slight hips and dots-for-eyes are
another thing yet. You frown, I frown.
There’s city noise and other noise still,

the kind that can’t be quelled by 450 volts
to the frontal lobe of a teenage queer.
Thanks, mom. Thanks, dad.
Thanks to all the presupposing Jim-Jims

who don’t know the first thing about you,
who still think you’re a clumsy demon
with a bad voice and de-tuned guitar
who tried and failed to be a pop star.

But you know who you are, and, maybe,
so do I. Like you, I stand quietly inside
the din and keep the fibers of my cocoon
wrapped carefully around my heart.

Like you, Lou, I hear a song with no
beginning and no end, a song that
doesn’t come from heaven but from
the grinding gears of old subway cars.

%d bloggers like this: