|I learned in science
you can never touch
anything. Surrounding every
Even when you put on a hat,
between your head and it.
when I heard my mother
Don’t come up here—she cried.
I looked up at her,
I forgot we walk around
|The earth’s crust
is like a cooking pancake
in a black iron skillet, except
instead of sitting on the stove
on top, in our dim museums.
Ignoring how much we ignore,
How desperate life is to live
|Next time that young bartender grabs the ashtray &
throws our ashes to the floor, I’m going to save at least one
howling soul. We’ll salsa through these doors
magic rebels from what magic usually rebels from: a world
sitting next to this one-legged Croatian, I want myself closer to Yugoslavia
but I don’t know that language. So I flirt. Tell him—you are, old
in wet sheets & he says I won’t tell you how I lost my leg &
|Across from my mother and me, in the Roy Rogers
at the James Fenimore Cooper travel plaza
on the New Jersey Turnpike, is an old man
with Flirt stitched onto his visor.
a drink. No wink. He’s flirting with flirting
and attempt to reswallow our hearts.
Even if she straightens out, she’s still on fire—my mother said.
At night the Turnpike is lit like a wet snake.
can relax, nestle in its coils. Yet we
dispelling a myth, we clutch our new truth tight:
|Shit—a rusted spot on the bars
catches my orange paper suit and
tears a hole in the ass. The fatter one
looks over, asks why I’m in this get-up
anyway. I got arrested at the river,
in my bathing suit. We were jumping
off the rocks and got in a fight.
Some cop turned around exactly when
James’ fist caught my chin.
Arrested us both. Funny,
I tell them, this paper suit is nothing,
the only thing warm in here
is my swollen cheek. The fatter one, still
shaking from the coke they caught her with
tells us if it were up to her
she’d let us all free.
The drunk one lifts her head from the toilet—but when’s it ever been up to you?