Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat


The city he knew is gone, disappeared
By fire and 'rejuvenation'
But we still like to see
The corners we haunt
Populated by his gifts and ghosts.

This city that burns us, 
But brought us together,
Long a magnet for those drawn
To creation and destruction,
It held him together
As much as it could.

Long enough to give us
The words and the work
Long ago scraped off of walls
Once blighted, now casually slick
Holding up the investments
Of the men who used to ride
Their Town Cars to score
And gawk at the artists
Trying to create a space for themselves
In the rubble. 

In a city where even room to breathe
Has been commodified
We sit in a crowded downtown theater
Marveling that not so long ago
There was a silence on St. Mark's.