back chair will
not push her
to hit a glass
ceiling with the tip
of her tongue. Without progressive
lenses, she can see
how life unfolds
planet’s moon. Or two.
Architects toss out the best
a found poem.
When a building gets braided
before the roof settles, who can
predict how high
the electric fence
will need to be. And she’s come to
under the wire
often enough to care.
Each measure is always longer
than it sounds.
This drive to go back to excavate
a basement after the building has been standing
graveless (shallow or deep)
for a hundred years is just the kind
of thinking that gets me
out of bed on cold winter mornings.
Without tobacco, without alcohol, this is
what’s left of my underground.
I can imagine Matteo Pericoli out there
beneath the Brooklyn Bridge counting
trusses and cables and stays. I can
see the world go blue against white
detailing and tiny capital
letters that march arrogantly into
Never could keep them
so straight and clean and strong.
My architecture doesn’t lay out
pretty. Still, if I were a character
in a novel, this is
where it would really begin.
She believes she can stand tall against shadow,
affect the light
into afternoon, identify the stone
figure staring at her as she turns a corner
old as sin. It could be
hers—wrapped into the dirty
canopy fabric above the narrow door.
* The title comes from the Preface to Luc Sante’s Low Life.