Jots

a cursed city block
a genre hopping master
a list of nonlinear films
a divided country
death to tea parties
bastardized words
hanging on a clothesline
another restaurant closing
memories of a hard day’s night
drinking even harder
another framed photograph
of a building that withstood the storm
a bridge no one takes
a booked Transatlantic cruise
a deflated raft washed up on a jetty
an exposed nail in the wall
the paint peeling off it
a neverending collection
of syllables and sighs

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Knocking the Wind Out

he wears a black turtleneck
inside a dark ratskeller
where tiny overhead lights flicker
when a train rolls through
the station above

she wears a black knit beanie
without an emblem
and a pair of leather
calf-length boots
no longer distressed

the day disappears
behind a swollen sunset
on the west bank
of the largest river
either has ever seen

she hides her fear
of wrinkles
behind an arrogant
head tilt
and wag of her left foot

she hums a tune
he recognizes
but can’t name
he buys her another
espresso

orders himself
a third shot
of Patrón

the wind outside
wolf-whistles
she wonders who
will open
the red door next

high heels are a memory
she brushes aside
with her sleeve
she mops the counter dry
with her desperation

he can’t see
the tattoo on her neck
hidden behind
ribbed cotton
and miles

that separate
him from her
real identity

everyone knows
the best ink
costs more
than Chanel No. 5
or blood

From a Charm Bracelet

Now no one will be able to say
I’ll be the thimble.

Wish I could have been
the rocking horse or the lantern.

Who really wants to be an old shoe?
Everyone loves the Scottie dog.

And the race car
and the top hat.

For me so much depends upon
that silver wheelbarrow.

A nouveau sack of money? Some tokens need to be retired before they pass Go.

It took long enough
to add the cat.

Rejecting the diamond ring, robot,
and helicopter makes sense.

But the guitar—
why the hell not?

Water Footprints Falling off the Map

she’ll never be
what she won’t eat
she’ll never be
a piece of meat
on display again

not a poet
turning beet
red or blood orange
from the flawed flow
of the second stanza

she’ll never be
a string bean
or pear-shaped

she was a fish
but no more
little water for her

refuses to lounge
on a half shell
or fly away home
preserved no longer
fermented

she wants to collapse
in a field
dig a hole
where she can bury
her limbs and heart

before it’s too late
before she becomes
toxic again
and begins to eat
her own words

figs and nightshades
aniseed and truffles
sea vegetables
and coconut
dirt and other aphrodisiacs

44 Constellations (including the Virgin)

Rearrange the furniture
after civil twilight.
Toss out an old rocking chair.
Another one. Remove

a wrought-iron frame entertainment
stand. Build
a forest of wood
and heavy metal.

Cancel your haircut.
Get lost in the trees
of sound. Resist
the urge to rest there

among severed branches
and a split sky.

Space Eaters

She craves sitting
at a table
with a small lamp
and mood ring light.

She thinks about room
dividers but
chooses to exercise
her freedom against them.

She sees you
don’t need to own
a book
to own it.

Still she can’t
let go. Declutter

first enters the language
in the 70s
according to Google Ngram.
According to Google Ngram,

case could be cafe,
fame could be same,
sunk could be funk,
suck could be —

Or, it could have been 1950.
Hypertext tempts her
to clutter her mind
with red herrings

and parsed scraps of joy
that grow mold
when stored in dank drawers
below street level.

A photograph called
“Sisters Swimming”
hangs on
a coffee bar wall.

Shadows of naked limbs
and a spine on a rock
during a roadtrip to Grand Marais
define someone else’s bliss.