on thursday, the dark like a kettle cooling
sighs and settles on wrists
a man walking home from the train
trips over shoelaces he tied on tuesday
on the bus yesterday he furtively touched
the tip of his tongue to a metal pole
meager supper at home, he steps over
a coat on the highway overpass
headlights flash, touch his tattoos
lick the guardrails. he wonders.
a girl in bed with an open window
watches woodpeckers in oak trees, hears each
knock like the night neighbors
built a slatboard fence. pounding
hammers, pecking permeate sleep. she dreams
a bag of soapstone elephants, a black satin
vintage purse she holds upside down and shakes.
each oliveslick elephant hits the floor
without breaking gallops off
into the night.
she pins her hair up but her body won't fit
into her grandmother's dress, her mother's
thin chest superimposed over hips
like the steppes, her belly a bloat arising
from information, late nights
on public transportation, tactile graffiti
thighs sticking to plastic seats colored orange, yellow
as though color could cheer or change
the close sweaty light. the story of leaving begins in
one brown shoe.
with scuff and shuffle outside smells like
door is open propped before dawn nightsounds
papa says there's more ocean now then before
poland is a deluge, a draining
billboards, banner ads, a promotional offer:
the encyclopedia universal can be downloaded
to the brain, just another hard drive. her hands are
slim and dexterous but she cannot find
another shoe that fits. there's more
information than before, bursts her ripe
tomato seams, seeds with mixoid cases spill
with force. north is both magnet and construct.
grandma never knew that, didn't have to reconcile.
i wanted to go home, but like housefire
familiar became frightening.
mice in my arteries, running
up and down my arms
in lieu of fluids
one of the side effects of sleeping
under the table, and with mouth
always open. how they move
from maw to vascular
meat is some alchemy
"Beware of a Boundless and Sickly Appetite
for the Reading of Poems, which now the Rickety Nation swarms withal."
voices like trashbags caught in trees always worry
someone might swallow a shoehorn:
cursechoke or worse
might like it
careless forget to fasten pants.
Cotton Mather cautioned against
ordered a fast
wearing of chaste hats
the reading of poems like cursing
might put shine on sallow faces
blow loose whisperbag!
pare bark from branch til yield
shameless foxtrot overhead