Photograph by Samuel Xu

Two 19-year-old girls embody first-world

drinking culture at 4 a.m.

varnished nails scrape

stone walls for sense of bearings.


Rock raking stopped as she gurgles

churned parma chunks

the other crackles hyena

chasing her skirt in circles.


As the sky grumbles

their cue to return home

A homeless drags by

At a quarter speed of rain beats.


His eyes do not reflect

puddle differently to gravel

his bladder calls for release

beside the beige muck.


Holed canvas shoes absorb

splashes of fresh urine

creased pavement magnetises

liquid forms alike.


Stains of mustard

arylide yellow

Another shade added

to the biodegradable mix.


Drizzle continues to sing

for the hours that pass

high walls shelter

digestive juices and privy trickle.


Sun clocks the start of

its Monday shift between the clouds

sidewalk moisture shrivels along

to the increase of latrine odor.


Peak morning cycles through

Accuweather says a bright, clear nineteen

faux fur jackets fade from the streets

double denim and Docs reflect midday laze.


Peak evening cycles through

pavement topped up with fresh steps

from an array of Nine Wests and Valentinos

Jo Malones and Tony Biancos.


Urine starts to crust a windy racetrack by the stone fence

it wasn’t there the day before

nor the bottles and cigarette butts

yet solids of sorts always stir into bins by noon.


Again the cycles repeat and the crust stays

Day ties wish to be black bows

Pay checks crunch hours for another zero

while the streets decay contaminated.


You strut by. It’s not your responsibility.

Concrete streets don’t thirst serene.

The Biancos won’t thank you

even if you scrape the vomit flakes clean.


Is it ignorance or arrogance?

Or a slushy serve of both?

Littering fines and recycling signs develop habits

yet mindsets are left untampered

by environmental gambits.


Biological waste disgusts more than attitude

one of the many cracks in society we let pass

letting nature wipe its own ass

before another weekend reunites

digestive juices in urinetown.


Crying on birthdays is soothing. Laetitia broke an eight-year streak on her 21st. She hopes her 13-year-old self isn't disappointed.