We were drinking Icebreakers and Jungle Joes
at Nero’s in the meatpacking district, not knowing
this was the end of an era. News came in
that Boudicca, the British bitch, was dead,
wedged in a gorge somewhere on Watling Street,
her lines of retreat blocked by her own wagons,
her barbarian troops barrel-shot, her bright mane
ground in the mud. Claret on the cobbles. Canapés
and a tray or Kabul Coolers on the house.
Nero ordered the goatfish special to celebrate,
and a pitcher of Vertigo, pledging to paint
the whole of New York City Forth Bridge Red.
The bloody thing was alive. That was a shock.
It hung at the table, its blotched flanks livid,
its goatee barbels waving in slow rebuke,
drowning in a sauce of its own liver.
We watched it fade from vermillion to bruise blue
to a rosy shimmer, ate it poached with a wine jus
then rinsed it down with a double Double Vision.
The highs just kept on coming. Till I saw the TV,
flames in someone’s eyes, and looked outside
to a city on fire, and Nero loving it, karaoke style,
seranading his own phizog, his gurning mug
plastered on the front of tomorrow’s daillies.
I knew the show would end with a White Lady.
I downed it, got my coat, left my tab unpaid,
felt her ice-cold hands meet around my throat.