Conjure something up, then,
Reach your hands to the back of your skull and grasp it, uproot it,
Put something just in front of you hummingbirding there
Let it eddy upon itself, swarm into itself, let it take form like a flock in wind.
What is it? Something small enough to fit in a fist, soft enough to refigure.
Ball it up and float it just there to look at. It is something of art. Something. Anything
Of art. Scrape your mindfingers along frames of the National Gallery, break that vase
On your knee and look at the shard. Squeeze your eyes and forge a monument.
No. None of these will float. None of these will hover enough to pour words over—
To cast in this copper. To break open. Art, dipped in flaking plaster, plaster
Smoothed, plaster filled, copper cooled, and there— There is art. It begins
Shining, becomes smooth, becomes dimensional, becomes unsettling and inaccurate.
Oxidizes, decays, presses on the ground beneath it. Pick it up.
Spin it. Throw it. Put a plaque above it. Break a window with it.
What was this art? It is its copper imitation. It has sharp edges from imperfect imprinting
It almost has an echo of that original shape. I couldn’t catch the shimmering thing
So I grip something else, completely.
It was the water trough somehow. Her body covers itself in glossy red her left hind and hoof all gelled over all shining red.
Flesh hangs. Her eyes are not rolled not agitated not blinking. She is awake. She stands, steady, still. She has not
lain in almost years. She will not now. Flesh, curling, thick, hairy, hangs. Her muzzle — smooth in its coolness —
does not lean into comfort. She is alone. Tired, maybe. Once, her clotted tail gestures toward the frantic bugs who lift and dive. And holding her
is wild blood and its fingers that reach over leg, over hoof, into mudwater. There was nothing in this field
sharp enough for this sort of gash. It must have been the water trough. There–the metal lip, shining, dripping.
I vomit into mud.
I want it on a heavy plate with heavy silverware. And I want a heavy, topless mug.
I will make you let me borrow your things. I swear it makes for better coffee.
Here, then. I land in a wooden seat not moving. Let conversations land around me, blow away.
I will unpack. I will make space for my heavy things pounding on this shaking table
and they will settle here. I’ll get used to the temperature and blend together all the buzzing.
I hate the ones who drift, chat, whose orders you already know how dare you!
I ordered for here. You’ve just gotten used to their daily To-Go.
Here’s a place. It’s got a wrinkle to it.
And here, another: Look for the middle, the center of it.
Look for the arrow and where it’s pointing.
Trace with your finger where light meets the water, touch it and send the light shaking.
Pull down from the sky that place you gave me
when we went running to the ocean and
the phosphorescence spun around our ankles. It flew right from our fingertips–
My love, the light was ours and we were burning in warm water.
You and I wound our bodies together to be both there,
floating. We were the same and the ocean was ours.
Then wind and morning came and took fingers to our place and the
ocean was your place. And the luggage was mine. And the car was mine and the boat and the road and everywhere but
Let me rip it all apart. I’ll take my razor to a map and puzzle it up into place into place.
I will take a razor to this city.
It is scattered it is not whole it is unplaceable entirely.
It is not dark enough for you to be slouched like that draped like that over an emergency call system
holding on to that box with that voice underneath, holding to the metal like a person, you a child, needing. You are too dirty
you are too old to be using that emergency call system you should be standing you should be walking. It is my thing it is
my call system but you are blocking me from it if I could I would call you in call you in if I wanted to. You, calling the police on your darkness—
you, who have stumbled onto the manicured parts of the city, afraid of what you carry, you who act like you know MY place this is where I
must stay safe get off my police hotline it is made for me. You, collapsing— you have collapsed before. It is the swell
of whatever is in your gut of whatever bites into you of whatever you’ve carried yourself that you’re reporting to the
polite voice the uniformed voice who expected an 18-year-old afraid of a shadow. You would be the shadow. You, in a corner,
in the dark, on those kinds of drugs YOU are the shadow. Back off from my space do not call in reinforcements they
will not help you they will not help you GOD you know this. They won’t help you. Put down the phone and
anything you’re carrying. If they find anything, if they find it on you… you know this. Why would you call? This phone is for
blonde white girls writing poetry. It will hurt you. Put down the phone.
There is jazz up here and orange light. There is leather
distressed wood faces lit by blue white
strained coffee grinding, pouring, steaming and
a black voice
in slurred percussion,
low and rough broken gritty
invading our still
our hands clench around coffee cups
some broad men perk up and
incline toward heroism.
But it is quiet. The disruption ushered out
and the students of the city relax
on their Kant, Foucault,
because there is no insanity here but
one man dirtied by streets.
There is coffee without agitation orange light blue light
Disguised as a man in a coffee shop, he balances himself
With a coffee in everyone’s corner.
His hat is on. He
has been given something clean. Or taken.
And with unpolished silver
hair and paper suit,
pretends to be casual here
to choose to be here but
there is something in the messiness
of that jawline draws confession
like the sighs tunneled through uneven shoulders. Stood like
a man in a suit like a man drinking coffee.
You’ve watched us well, unsigned plagiarist.
I want to coach you in your play. Take your coffee
teach you how to gulp it; men in suits must hurry. Your time
must be valuable. Body, old, browned– it must be fit to that suit.
Let it hold your back straight let it slump you. You should be
too busy to see me watching you. To look at me. Hurry
hurry; you’ve begged all day for a coffee now steaming
in a paper cup. If you want to play person, you can’t let it cool.