Cleaning Up the Toxic Assets

  1. Drag racers lose their traction once
  2. they hit the glaciers,
  3. skidding over whatever it is
  4. that fell out of my mouth.
  5. No wonder we get so hungry sometimes,
  6. chewing on the next person’s
  7. seat cushion right down
  8. to the foam and springs
  9. with an anamitronic spoiler alert
  10. for an art of war decided
  11. by who blinks first.
  12. A staring contest,
  13. in other words,
  14. where the moistest eyes win.
  15. Sharks surface according to
  16. a separate logic
  17. though I still didn’t know where
  18. I was when I woke up,
  19. and poetry has the most to lose.
  20. The architectural firm needs
  21. a junior partner to repair
  22. off-ramps in Colorado.
  23. I miss driving across the country,
  24. but not sleeping in my car.
  25. It was easier in those days to avoid
  26. being photographed,
  27. and at least paranoia entails
  28. using your imagination.
  29. Sparks scatter from the welds
  30. and onto our pants,
  31. while the future gets restless,
  32. blowing through the stadium then
  33. the shoe store frequented
  34. by the beauty-pageant runner-up
  35. with breast implants who
  36. declared homosexuality unnatural.
  37. If I hadn’t seen it on TV,
  38. I wouldn’t believe it.
  39. The backdrop is a starch and housepaint
  40. dumpling vista where
  41. we frequently lose the signal
  42. having dropped anchor
  43. in familiar shallows rusting Dresden’s
  44. scorched orphanages. Vietnam.
  45. The rumblings take place
  46. behind my head,
  47. but that doesn’t mean
  48. I hear voices,
  49. just conversations about
  50. the ruined and the new—
  51. you, or the Little House on the Prairie
  52. dinner bell before
  53. the invention of plastic cups
  54. and after barbed wire substituted
  55. for the convenience
  56. of a king in the dictionary,
  57. a riveting page-turner
  58. detailing our complicities.
  59. This poem goes faster without
  60. its precious moments—
  61. the seagulls attacking a picnic basket
  62. filled with paving stones
  63. and loose sand,
  64. the forgotten corner of the petting zoo.
  65. This poem steers me.
  66. The crocuses quickly pass
  67. out of season,
  68. as we wait at a bus stop
  69. cracking the code
  70. of our longing,
  71. the circuitous route pausing
  72. at every treehouse and
  73. fluorescent-light fixture attached
  74. to a seismograph dropping
  75. a needle to the groove.
  76. If you look closely,
  77. it might appear as dancing,
  78. faces set to the breeze and sun,
  79. the front door pulled closed
  80. behind us.