Mach 1: I’d Like My Torch Back Tonight

war does not end
bodies wrecked into angels I might see
if you turned that damn thing off

the stars the stars the stars

knots in my backpack will come undone
the ones in my throat not a chance
on this planet I love

I do not drive
this planet I love
I do not want love I cannot drive

off this rock

she knows her way in any kind of darkness
notebook in hand in crowded clubs
she’s never really alone

I used to be her / I still am
the girl who drives
this pen further into the dirt

than wheels can ruin themselves
across another rural route
beware the grand public gesture

where do sentences come from
where do they go
when the lights go out

what about the neighborhoods
without names to stitch
their desperate syllables together

how can a place have no scenery
I never understood the difference
between the front row and stage

edge / moat / river

that cannot be crossed
without a bridge that stops lifting
or swinging long enough to jump onto

I used to talk to strangers
now I talk to myself
strangest of all

sometimes we steal
from the collective
imagination first

when that fails
we steal
from our younger selves

folk song traces in the filament

it took 26 years for me to think of the birds
that lived in the nest
those roofers torched by mistake

we all have a fire story to tell
that was mine
not yours

26 years
the distance between
my father and me

26 miles
the time between
innocence and this life I live now

the building speaks
in tongues before it bursts
into a torch song

the one I used to hum
to myself
on your stoop

willing you
to open the venetian blind
to have a look

this sidewalk the only true home I know

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