"I was a member of the Goldberg gang—
we walked down the street doing algebra."
— Richard Price
I stumbled polio-slow down Amsterdam
with Levy and Schwann and Marky Goldberg,
pretending the solution to any inequality
was exponentially more important than
the soul-sad eyes of dazed Knights dangling
from the ends of chronic Kools.
Nonchalantly terrified, we ambled up the gravel
alley between Wing Cleaners and The Chili
Powder Room, Marky pencil-whipped pi cubed
into submission, Levy swerved down
an asymptotic curve, and I attacked a random
Bernoulli sequence, which did nothing at all
to impress the gang-bangers boiled on brown-
paper vodka, muscatel and Mad Dog-20.
“Pythagoras was a fag.” Johnny Blecher slid
down his own graffito in what I could only pray
was a coma. Buddy Drew blew an obtuse-angled
smoke ring. All that saved us from extinction
was knock-off Absolut absolution, next-of-kin
gin, and a grateful nod from the unknown
J. Patrick Lewis
J. PATRICK LEWIS's poems have recently appeared or will soon be published in Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Dalhousie Review, West Branch, New Letters, Seneca Review, Fine Madness, Southern Humanities Review, Yankee, and many others. He has also published 45 children’s picture/poetry books to date with Knopf, Atheneum, Penguin Putnam, Harcourt, Little, Brown, National Geographic, and others. This is his first appearance in The Adirondack Review.