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(un-edited) free-association poem fragments (of late).

October 9, 2009

Black Hand Coffee Shop

The walls peeling, sunburned plaster
giving way its whitewashed foreskin.
metal gauzed flesh to hold the holes in place.
Pipes vein with termites–
The cats are sleeping (fatter than before)
but that, at least, has not changed.
The dregs of summer are doodled across
a chalkboard in weak sunshine, and coffee rings
swimming across tables. Men talk
about cars between their navy blue polos, stamped
over the heart with logos of pledged companies.
Machine-white, the stitching more orderly
than lane painting on the streets.
They drive black and burgundy cars
to fraternize with the coffee shop boy’s tattoos,
talk of shows he plays instead of sleeping.
We’re closing up, killer. I’ll have to bring the table inside.

St. Francis
In this city, St. Francis can
exist in so many places at once,
unafraid of the scissoring ferns
gliding along his throat and through
his arms. Unaware of the greyhounds’
lifting legs at his feet.

The Chinese Girl
Three or four, she follows
her mother down Park from the restaurant
to their apartment. Always there, with the cheap
booths and faded picture-menu of meats.
Her whole life, these four blocks.
Walking, balancing, a book, a toy, trailing
twenty feet behind her mother’s panted, sandaled feet.

Her mother, a back she rides, same straight black bowl cut hair.
Her father, soy-scented, constant as the empty
fish tank on the counter. Signs about how much to spend
to use a credit card or a check. The blinking red-lighted
corner, the smells; will these be her memories
when she’s twenty-something, and with a man.

The september squirrels are fatter,
more violent- pitching oblong shells
down the tin roof. Everywhere there
are thatched tops from the nuts, like tiny
chinese rice farmer’s hats. They are not brown
all-over, as one thinks, but bear a bowl
of dusty, minted green. Sometimes left uncracked,
having been shaken loose by mistake and sent down
to lie with the gravel and dirt, the mushrooms
and grass that scraggles under clover, paper leaves.
The earliest parachutes of late August.

Dancing Woman
A woman dances when I get to the park.
For her dogs, red-faced, bulky head-phones
blinking silver with the dying sun.
She twists through first one hula-hoop
and then another. In passing cars others dogs bark.
A woman walks a spotted hound
and a new baby, arms and legs suspended
from the papoose held around her throat.

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