Karen Jakubowski


There is a calendar calculator
tick, tick, ticking, a stock market tape of dates. 
Step right up… Ask a date. Any date.  
Gypsy gray matter rolodex spins 
and whammo his fortune teller machine 
spits out the exact day of the week. 
No crystal ball gazing, just knowing. 
He never misses. We’ve checked. 
He is a high functioning verbal whirlpool. 
Tells us, “Personality is much more than nature alone.” 
I introduce him to poetry; read him a poem. 
Later when I ask him what poetry is, 
he spouts a gem of a line,
which he repeatedly repeats
verbatim on demand: 

“Everything in the whole wide world 
that is required to put Michigan Rummy 
in turmoil is just a beauty as you are.” 
In Marcus Garvey Park he plays on the slide.  
His “actionism” is a “classicality”.  
At 45 he is still an inventor of words. 
East 124th being north, tells his sister
Central Park is decreasive. 
He is thrilled by our awe of his language. 
While he is “increasive”, he informs us, 
“Playgrounds are not just for decreasive people.” 
I sit on a park bench photograph 
paint chipped patinaed water fountain.  
We advise it may not be safe to drink. 
He declares “poisionosity” – “Water is not so clean. 
They could be determined by poisionosity. 
You never know.” 
In “previosity” of conversation, we “subsequentity” 
discovered there was a penguin, a big good wolf 
and a black squirrel running amuck among the swings. 
Neighborhood men swing clubs. Park putting.  
Mini-golf down hexagon sidewalk. 
Ball bumpity bumps over wavy greenless ground 
heads for the upright cup circled by a c of benches.

In wanders an 80 plus man in 70’s pimp attire.  
Full length camel hair coat over brown suit, 
godfather feathered derby, 
pinched Winston dangling. 
Lets us photograph him for a buck.  
We gave two.  
We traipse through East Harlem. It is misting. 
He tells us, “so far so drizzly.”  
Window shopping I ask what’s in the rings 
He doesn’t say diamonds.  He says price tags. 
Fascinated by watches, “even numbers 
are the numbers and odd numbers are 
roman numerals but this one has no 12.” 
He isn’t good at goodbyes. She’s going back 
to Tennessee. He goes off to play computer games 
before the men return to the group home. 
He will miss us later when he is able. 
                Dedicated to Liza DeCamp and inspired by Thomas Graham


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