portrait of a people going nowhere

Her shoes are loud just like the ambience
of clouds that bring the waters down
to smarten up the blacktop.

Eyelash playlists through the white disk
speakers on the ceiling miss our minds
like they are trying to unwind themselves.
I like to look at her from far away,
but never for so long that it gets creepy,
and can I fade away forgetting how I got there.

You add up all the acid I’ve let
burn me as it trickles through
the shingles and my ceiling,
but it was never quite enough
to finally wake me.

She could slit my throat with just
a safety pin so I begin to walk back
all my arrogance, and listen to the music
in the hallway.
At the end of it the glass doors all are busted
and the sidewalk outside doesn’t lead
to anywhere.

It just keeps whoever walks it in a holding
pattern, tracing all the store fronts.
However, in the back of some old thrift shop,
in the middle of a coatrack, is a trap door
leading back before she noticed you.
In those precious few remaining bits
of memory; the loud projector finally
melts the spinning cellophane.

One of my thumbnails is mixed in
with the salt and broken glass
that makes up all the content
of this bucket left abandoned
on the highway, where the road kill
is an entree for the air.
The girls all kick their legs
from where they sit up on
the overpass and empty
little cans of flavored water
backward underneath their

You can get lost out in
those dark lines where
the faded distance on the signs
is never clear enough
to know how far you’ve made it.
An emperor penguin watches
quietly from the trees
that no one cares about
not touching any road,
and it is plotting its return
to the most northern point
existing in the world.

From there the possibilities
are infinite connecting
at coordinates uncalculated
and geologically magnificent.
The wall of water crashing
into all the ice becomes a part of it
and throws off how the iceberg
has been floating since it got here
on that comet that just somehow
wasn’t brave enough to finish us.
An old crow is aware of this,
and shakes her talons like a warning
stacked against the half forgiveness
of the sky, and there is no one
on the road tonight, it’s empty.

Luck is like enamel on your teeth
that wears away the more you chew on
what you’ve bitten.
I can’t find the back door at her mom’s house
trying to get out of there and blend in
with the robins in the hedges
smoking Chrystal in their nests
so they can make it all the way back North
and deal with it.

There is an underground syndicate
of people who throw rocks through
downtown windows and the leader
wears a pirate flag like a jacket.
He’s never restrained himself
from chatting up the girls who fall
in line with him and his menagerie
of broken glass that never bends
the light to make it brighter.

When they ask him to explain it all
he starts a search through all his pockets
for a lighter. He settles on asking around
and only finds one in the hands
of some old messenger from long ago
who made a point of always knowing
what the time was.

I have been trying to pull onto the freeway
for hours but all the on ramps don’t connect
they circle back again as if the concrete
could pretend it was unlimited.
I pick the gate lock with my broken glasses
and watch the horses drink entire troughs
of bourbon that almost no one knows
they came across miraculously.

Buzzards like to save the heart for later
when the moon is bright and cutting
through the cold, and when they’re old
they will look back on this,
with all the mangled flesh between
their eyes, disgusted with the rest of us
who simply cannot wait for anything to die.

One thought on “portrait of a people going nowhere

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