W.S. Di Piero

September 26, 2016 Di Piero W.S.



The air of the day abhors us

and drives outliers like her

inside the crowded train.

She speed talks it hurts

my eyes it’s too wet

like wet whatever

and cold in my eyes.

I ride the length of town

with her and smiling nuns,

skateboards, teens kissing,

toddlers on leashes,

Mission Bay to Ocean Beach.

Wet riders come and go.

The orator and I hold firm.

Who gives alms to Poor Tom

when the foul fiend vexes?

The rain lets up:

out on the sidewalks

Asian gleaners appear

with smiley-face latex gloves

and XXL garbage bags,

neatly dressed, picking through

the city’s sinuses,

fastidious and focused

among the street singers

and their pussy scabs split

across raw fatty hands:

they sing to their doubles,

the elementals and invisibles

whose squeaky vocals reel

from tree roots and concrete.

W.S. Di Piero was born in 1945 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and earned degrees from St. Joseph’s College and San Francisco State College. A poet, essayist, art critic, and translator, Di Piero has taught at institutions such as Northwestern University, Louisiana State University, and Stanford, where he is professor emeritus of English and on faculty in the prestigious Stegner Poetry Workshop. Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001, Di Piero was awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize in 2012.