Scaffolding

Nighttime is when tipsy people
Scale the scaffolding of Manhattan.
I zigzag down the street, look up,
See them clinging for their lives.

They smile stupidly, like new angels
Relieved there’s an afterlife
And figuring out how to fly.
Their high heels and moonlit loafers

Clatter on metal poles as they climb
Higher than the grumbling of gridlock.
Laughing mannequins on the lam,
They might plummet and splash their

Polished faces on the pavement,
But are so wasted that their
Acrophobia seems funny
And makes them giggly.

Peeking into our bedrooms,
They see that even the gravest bores
Gyrate naked in front of mirrors,
And airheads who we thought

To be happy actually sob into
Dog bowls until their
Tear ducts are sore.
Tipsy people climb so high

They can barely breathe.
They decide they are in a giant
Cobweb, or an endless jungle gym,
And vertigo makes them

So feisty that they want
To make love to things
That can’t be embraced, such as
Passing planes on flight paths

Shaped like question marks.
They propose to the moon,
Admit to made-up crimes,
Then vow to live and hide in the sky,

Even when daylight shoves nighttime
Off the streets they used to control.
Falling asleep on poles and planks,
They have the same dreams as

The pigeons they use for pillows.
Later they’re clouds in their dreams,
Or comets, or anything high up
That never comes down.