The Street Is a Museum

And all my shoes are anarchists wanting
real skin—Mine is the face that holds
breakable bones. My interiors, a church
of hothouse moans and old cassette tapes—
saddest ballads shimmed from the knives
of old boy friends, plastic strands lulling
the past tense into birds’ nests. This body
is a machine gone mad. Smelling of hot
donuts, now I’m the vendor out of luck
on the coldest night. Each breath convoked
by human voices, awoke my ancestors.
We barred the doors—We danced til dawn,
watched God choke on the marrow


(Originally published in Orange Crush.)


Trouble came and trouble
brought greasy, ungenerous things:
poke root and bladderwrack,
chalklines in bloody bedrooms
and black reptilian bags
smelling of acetylene.

Trouble came and trouble sang
shush-shush or tell-tell
for I alone will break your bones
as he bedded down for winter
in a small small town,
smelling of cabbage and tripe
where eight black chickens
wandered the street.

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