Collages of Her

Your fingernails gracefully
graze the 1920s spine of The Cantos,
and I believe you are the second One, here
to pour water down my face
and unclasp my ribs;
you procure intimacy from poise
and rusted motions of light-footed,
1930s dames, exuding intellect
and all windows I want opened—yet
you only graze the spine of heavy books,
appearances, like the retro clock on my
wrist I never see,
only here for moral support of intelligence.
Kindly, I glide past you,
let dreams leave me in the warmth
of your glance.

Avoiding Geoffrey Chaucer and Other Work
I tell my friends I hate John Landis Mason jars.
I tell my friends I hate Poodle skirts and Shakesphere
that reminds me of you,
and I am not sorry.
I play Donna Summer, experiences of disco’s 70s
on the record player downstairs
in the room of a girl
who I am not in love with.
Donna breathes.
I breathe.
when she finishes singing,
I finish caring.
I would not lie to you. Reading 1950s comics:
Space Busters is hard, like stepping on
giant mutant insect, or listening to the slither
of the garter snake from last spring as he comes closer
to my porch.
But I listened anyway, didn’t I?
If I stand up right now,
no one will hear my thoughts
except smoking a cigarette.

Fuck that.
Ancient scrolls and scriptures
tell us where to walk, I don’t mind.
I’ll listen to a man who isn’t alive—
I can believe in that sort of
mystical inhabitant like Louis Armstrong
taking my soul and mangling it like his,
turning me into a 60s jazz icon,
a pressured saddle shoe to wear on stage.
I feel used, I feel unwelcome yet necessary,
and part of me worries about wearing my
overalls unbuttoned but another part
says, “to hell with people,”
and common practice is thrown, I am thrown,

We are.
After New York trips
we write stories about
men hanging their costly coats
over grey-skinned voices
calling out to sons
of power and privilege,
about a strong hand giving
a day off but receiving one,
about justice,
about Audrey Hepburn taking the
cigarette from a lady’s lips
and replacing it with
a swift kiss and a surprising
revelation that she must help,
about you and I leaving New York
and not having to write
stories because each of
these moments were true,
real, and unsafely profound.
But then we put the ballpoint
pens down, promising
to meet for coffee tomorrow.
I walk by a homeless man
and learn I am everyone else.