Gillian McCain

On the Occasion of Coco’s Retirement

to Stacy Szymaszek

Coco wakes up, makes a cup of cocoa, pours in 2 shots of espresso
exits train near rubiks cube
walks past condemned st marks books
_______skips down ninth street
up 5 stairs of st marks church, veers right
_______nods at dutch guys grave
she thinks back 2 the anarchist flea market
crusties w pitbulls,
the smell of tofu emanating
from grimy barbecue,
a copy of out of this world
stepped on, kicked into oblivion.
The days of frank morales
& the anti-shopping guy
squatting in church, blow-up mattress
in southeast storage vestibule
hosting 911-was-a-hoax meetings,
passing around the hat, keeping the change.

_______The current Prez of the Board
_______gets worked up over so much dumb shit!
Pitbulls off leash urinating
on dutch guys grave for example,
& frank morales of course
Prez hires a professional
private investigator/NRA proponent
self-published noir writer
who makes Coco do an amazon review
of his book in lieu of payment!!!!!!

and then there is our long-suffering sexton,
jimmy fragosa, who upon spotting
Coco often looks down, pretends there’s
something on the sole of her opening
ceremony sneaker
she does not feel like hearing
about homeless man who shit
in women’s bathroom
the night before
shortly after the anne
carson reading.

_______What’s up w/ the cult of
anne carson anyway, mutters jimmy

_______Here comes tom savage! The east village dorian gray!
whose appearance never changes nor does his mood
Pensive, melancholic, always has an observation
Coco writes list poem “savage observations” years in the making

Joel Lewis calls & just wants to chat
Coco loves joel lewis! Coco is glad to put work aside
so he can have socratic dialogue with Coco! It takes all kinds,
thinks Coco, smiling, gratitude love & acceptance always

miles champion calls, cannot meet Coco for lunch (PTSD)
Coco googles calories in one duncan donuts
coffee cake muffin—-640 cals! WTF!
She will relish the top & forgo the bottom.

Computer screen streaked
where are those
wet ones Nicole got at dollar store
she scans the office
O! beauty in scum on stained glass
she pockets a stray dust-bunnied copy
of on the pumice of morons
to sell on ABE later this evening
Embrace it, Coco! Steal this book is merely a title
not a crime, face it you get paid shit even though there
is a million dollar endowment
Bad board, very bad board, go away, Board!

Behold coffee cake muffin!
Eat it, Coco!
Even the bottom!
You deserve it for all
for your selfless service
in the name of poetry
and for you just being you
we love you always will

Photo: Annie Watts

Gillian McCain

Gillian McCain is the author of two books of poetry, Tilt and Religion and co-author of Descent of the Dolls. With Legs McNeil she co-wrote Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk and co-edited Dear Nobody: The True Story of Mary Rose. She is the former Program Coordinator and Board President of The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church. She lives in New York City.