the sun peeked out in the morning
and didn’t fall down until the night
took its place. I drove for miles,
a cup of coffee, cooling between
my thighs. Time didn’t mean a thing,
didn’t cost a dime. There was music,
something I didn’t know, something I
couldn’t sing along with, something
with a piano. I drove past lakes, trees,
a girl walking a dog, birds moving the sky.
My parent’s called from Florida,
talked about the heat, golf courses,
palm trees, oranges, and the suntanned
people who walk around like they’re
the only ones. I drove until they
couldn’t hear me, until the line cut.
I fell in love once, and I’m
still hanging on, to all that’s dead,
all that’s moved away, started new
lives, a new direction. I steered up a
dirt road, drove to the end, the very
end, of what, maybe everything. If I learned
one thing, I learned it’s best
to close your eyes to the world.
We’d go to the cinema in the afternoon
Then for coffee later.
She’d studied film for four years
And when discussing it afterward
Sounded like a police mortician
Diagnosing the cause of death,
The more lavish and Hollywood the affair
The more bloated the corpse,
“Exposition, complication, climax”
She’d say and draw a curved line on a napkin
Depicting the three stages of composition.
One day she said,
“Only life can teach us how things explode”
And it was true I thought-
Most men drop dead
In the middle of their story or
Have nothing resembling a story at all.
When she finally left
I kept up those visits to the cinema
Sat in the cool dark on long afternoons
till my senses warped
The most simple story perplexed me
I found myself laughing at death scenes
And weeping at the jokes.
Even years later the random sight
Of planes and falling buildings
made little sense,
No matter how well explained and
Beautiful the narrative.
fidget in the nostril
of the tunnel.
their heads wilt ashen
over asphalt grey,
their lips gnaw on
inching in tandem,
slower than a dog trots.
each of them has a tangled schedule
bursting at the temporal seams.
the city, drowned in their misery,
has the waterlogged stench
of greed and fuel.
to travel downtown is to struggle,
and everything moves faster
than everyone in the tunnel.
they are mucus in the sinuses
of a very big, unhappy place.
my father used to cross himself every time we passed a church
it was a strange habit i thought
it didn’t matter what the denomination of christianity the church spewed
he just crossed himself
sometimes at sixty-five miles per hour
it became quite comical
especially if we were travelling through the South
where there’s a church it seems every hundred yards or so
i asked him once why he didn’t pay his mobile respects
to mosques or hindu temples or synagogues
we had those around our city as well
his answer was defensive convoluted and circular
much as you would expect from an intellectual or academic
(which is what he was)
but to his credit he had read the Qur’an
as well as countless pages of hindu texts
buddhist shinto tao and zen as well
he devoured non christian religious literature as if it were comic books
my father died at the end of the last century
instead of burying him as he wished
my sisters and i had him cremated
we had very little money and turning someone to ashes it seems
is a better financial choice if you’re on a budget
he would have no doubt protested our choice
ashes to ashes is how it goes i think
the church to which he belonged all his life
burned to the foundation not long after he died
only the lower third of the giant cross remained
i drove by the site once on my way to settle some accounts
my father had left unresolved
there were two boys rummaging for something just next to the burned cross
one of them picked up a rock and heaved it at the charred remains
and then they laughed and ran away
I took a strange trip
through fields of dust.
I searched for the one
I loved, but I was
bitten by ants that
The bees left me alone
and that was a blessing.
I searched in the ground
for my life. It was
hijacked by the ants
that were everywhere.
I spoke to them before
they consumed my head.