Monthly Archives: April 2011

We Let Joe Drive

We are lolling and giggling
in the back seat of the sheik’s car
to another unknown destination
on another adventure.

I’m game. I am just months
back from the Sunshine State,
still burning from re-entry.

Displacement doesn’t suit me
and I am often angry
because volatility is better
than admitting I’m afraid, better than
looking beyond 3A, through
the pot smoke and into the future.

We ride in the back
seat dying laughing and never
really explaining ourselves.

I don’t think to wonder
if I’ll want to go back and bottle
these endless possibilities
and resell it to myself as the nectar
of foolish youth. I can’t imagine
winter here let alone
a Spring without Joe, somewhere
off in that nebulous future I’m trying to avoid.

Joe drives, regales us with stories,
schemes, plans. Over coffee,
The Big Time
is always within reach.

Expectant

She is pregnant, but she won’t be pregnant for long. She sits on the 83 bus with her hand on her abdomen like she’s seen more-pregnant women do. The man in front of her smells strongly of cigarettes, or is it only a faint dusting of tar and chemicals on his jacket? Has he only walked quickly through the cloud of someone else’s exhale, her senses somehow stronger than before this minor change, which she will now change back? That is also a possibility.

The robotic voice with its hint of feminine qualities announces her stop. She smiles at the side of the bus driver’s face and says thank you, because she is thankful that she has not been made to walk. Later she will be groggy and say thank you after the nurses smile at her and give her pamphlets with instructions that she will tuck next to prescriptions in her purse. There is a bottle of water in there that she anticipated needing, and she does. Her mouth is so dry. It will feel dry for days.

She stands on the sidewalk as the bus pulls away, pushing warm air that smells like the city at her.

Nerd Heaven

In heaven I will like baseball because
in heaven I will not suck at baseball.
The same goes for hockey, fighting, and chess.
In heaven I will be able to speak
more than just English, Spanglish, and Latin.
Okay, I can’t speak Latin, but I can
speak Pig Latin, and I think that should count.
In heaven, Pig Latin will count. Also,
in heaven, I won’t have to have all these
hypothetical conversations with
myself about what heaven will be like.
That’s going to give me a ton of time
to play Tetris and enjoy sex and beer.
In heaven, I will have free sex and beer.

Shrödinger’s Cat Call

Her room is a box, obscured from view,
and the fallout from emotive radiation

dies in half life. Sexual reality is non-local
unless you open up your eyes, so you sit

there in the black, cloaked in macroscopic
indeterminacy and sense the superposition

of her body curled away beneath the sheets.
Both of you exist on infinite worlds, just as long

as you remain that way —you both never see
her again as well as stay with her forever while

simultaneously continuing to rendezvous like
this for several months of vague, non-committal

emotional confusion, misconstrued between
your friends. Perhaps you’ve gone home with

another girl than the one who left the party —
hell, perhaps another guy — while at once

you went home alone, and never left the house
at all. Or maybe she’s The One (although

as long as we’re discussing physical science
and probability, that one seems particularly

unlikely however still completely possibly). But
the witness draws an outcome, and as soon

as one observes this quantum entanglement
of two distinct bodies on wavering strings,

the action exerts a force between them, a force
so powerful it destroys every world but One.

Because sometimes, when you’re trapped in the
vastness of space, it’s better to stay in the dark.

Anime Boston

for Monica

I can hear their disdain clattering behind me;
it is the clattering disdain of people who have
never been picked last for anything, have no
idea what otherness feels like. Snickering
ricochets off the glass ceilings and marbled
floors – crescendoing, crashing – paroxysms
of unconcealed derision far uglier than any

getup these kids are wearing. Knots of kids
congregate outside of Michael Kors. They’re
squealing in recognition and appreciation and
I want to think these girls behind me just feel
threatened today because they are clearly in
the minority, even if it’s just for today, just for
this weekend. They won’t let up. And I want

to face them & say: “It really doesn’t take that
much effort to be kind. But if that’s too much
for you, it takes even less effort to just keep
your mouth shut, and to let all these kids be
rock stars this weekend. The rest of the year
is all yours, so just lay off, ladies, all right?”
But the kids don’t need my protection; they

are bedecked in fuzzy ears, gossamer wings
and neon wigs and they are joyful, ecstatic
to the point where no scorn can reach them.

Containers

There is nothing left for people here. Our livers are no longer coddled, valued, saved. The lobby of the home is fresh and styled. There are no posters hung haphazardly, no empty bottles lining the tops of fridges or the perimeters of trash cans. When I get to the home, I drop off the fifth of gin in my pocket at the front desk. Emma wields a thick black marker, writing the names of the drunks on their bottles. We are contained in those glass enclosures on the table behind the welcome desk; we drop ourselves off and pick ourselves back up. We are not allowed to drink in the rooms, and so we do not linger there. Though there are televisions and beds more comfortable than I have known or afforded in my lifetime, I do not linger either.

The back porch is where the voices are, the warm bodies, made warmer by the booze. Faces flushed red navigate the cigarette smoke. Conversation is lively, there is usually laughter, though everyone knows how quickly laughter can turn into something else, something to defend against. Then there are the sirens and flashing lights. But those nights are fewer and farther between than before we lived here; our defenses have cooled a bit now that we are no longer in mixed company. Only three people have died since I have come here, though I know that my spot on the waiting list didn’t open because of a building expansion. There are men with yellow eyes and loose clothing. I stay away from them because there is nothing left to cultivate. Their laughter is frightening – it is weak and wheezy – and it kills my own.

I can say this much: I am calmer now. There is less that is riding on my success or my failure or any of my decisions. I watch the sunrise and the sunset from this patio, and I am no longer guilty.

I Am Mourning the Loss of a Full Bottle of Aloe

It was taken from me by an officer at the
security gate while I was putting my shoes
back on because it was too full of gel so
the man felt threatened and did not believe
me that it was never meant to fly
but was in fact left over from
the cruise that I was on when
I got called to jet home
quickly so that I
could watch you as
you rose up
past the
sun.