I had forgotten how to express myself
due to an accident of fact or necessity.
The average robin-redbreast is as deniable
as any bed you arch your blues upon
or dog left roaming all winter alone.
They asked about currents in reading
when the crowd caught wind of a strip
mall’s background. You can’t afford
their tomes on peace and Sunday
makes no sense to a criminal child with
one lost mutt to ratchet her deeds against.
But back to those wings hitching
toward the town’s only working Sunoco.
A communal soup was all stones in grease
back then. Don’t stand aside or near
the flame; omit these future fragilities:
your tender hook makes my life
hard to breathe through known and
unfamiliar rooms, not even a sorry saint
with store-bought combative robes
could forgive my pleasure in. I am a victim
of the disaster of holding someone
I’ve barely met dear. Her name’s across
the sea. She weaves poppies for her hair.
The Lucky Lessons of Happy Chance
I. A Story Board
I’m dating this strange woman who is dating me back.
She keeps dating me back like romance is the new black
or as if getting attention is a game or hand to be played.
The middle part is a monkey with a buzz cut dancing in slanted ways.
But in the end, the end is a clear cut standard bowl shape.
Sometimes flowers float there.
As for the structure of our liaisons, we keep getting caught
in turnstiles until we ask for directions.
The manager often appears to help.
II. How to Avoid a Happy Home
Drink for two, sleep for one, bring comfort and strangeness
to the growing survivors who dilate the moon.
Pick them up in random corner delis. Call them “bodegas.”
Save answering machine fictions routinely.
Steep the bitters in their own takeover. Pour them in a corner pot.
(The lies die from boredom; the black-tie actuals earn a spotlight.)
If you choose to lay railroad ties for life, know that the animals
will ultimately beat us out. Likewise,
we are ceaselessly winning reptiles. We believe in the unknown.
III. My Name is You
These blue blossoms are generous. This centaur is rare.
A sweet camembert melts in slow motion on the side table.
Take in your surroundings; evaluate the glare.
Notice me watching flies that land, favored souvenirs.
Does my wording sound familiar? You’ve been here before.
You are a modern client in a doomsday climate. So were your parents
and their parents’ parents preceding. In a hurry down Mercy Street,
you failed to taste the tulip soup. As a guest, your coffee grows colder.
These people want something; their lips move ever quicker.
You could walk out back, tickle the pond with your toe.
IV. The Lack of Aftermath
Together, we shared a dark beer. We looked away.
It’s impossible to fulfill their commandments, though you might
share a sentence or two. Life comes in patches;
it’s up to the living, the verifiable next-door-with life, to select
a housedress to wear about town.
Bear in mind that the garment will flank your body
for minutes on end. Does it go with these aviator perils?
Does it hold enough wine to run an engine of spirits?
Believers come in small packages.
The ones who hold tight to frayed ends laugh smaller.
Be small, o person.
Be mismatched with others.
Hard silence, mismatching voices.
The force that prevents a fleeting tonight
opens the left hand that becomes its riotous right.
Takes a sip of rosepetal soup, unassembled.
Eats raw civics and other federal duties.
Appease will not conclude.
By any torture necessary.
Tax the time and crash your own rites.
I have concealed myself like listen.
The rest is up to you. Like they say,
it’s all hallowed rain floating in a teacup.
Read between the words.
The New State Salute
They stole her hands & added-on
instincts, a labyrinth sans soul,
a ghost rider withholding moon
Like the day listens in on
not merging with your own
Even in jest, your lover burns
a blank check that turns an eyelash
on the blinking witness or a dime
across her threshold, a Jesus appendix
With bended knee, this triangle’s half
square worships geometric
silhouettes, as elsewhere,
human-like bones overlap
the synonymous corners of flight
Until we speak in needles
seven skies away, a way to feel
your curtained face is
through the window cinematic,
above the low of voices rising
Over picket white fences, we are left
in fields toppled with limbs
and saddles of accident debris,
a costume theory built on progress
Wearing a missing glove’s finger holes,
I listen for cufflinks that echo the backs
of waving hands and maths keeping count
Room on a Day Without Windows
Opening sunlit hours with silent knives,
my egg also unfolds its market
Place: I wear blistered white skins
for the dolls I’ve emulated
When everyone pales a halo
of borrowed light, under which we stand
luminous sores of half-crisped yolks
With imitation fire, I don my crowd
mentality and sweep under rugs
This social battle wrapped
in gesturing bodies permits
an image of form, a formless mask—
I am part of that red line, blue shell miscast
As she too, her person, wonders where lies
the human road of traffic,
then finds disguise in her spine
Pulls sulfur from stone
Smells the perfume of fear-into-gold
When her legs disguise paper stars
with a paper sun in flammable sky
And the overtaken blow, practice hello,
always the children as the elders stay home
amy king is the author of the poetry collection, *Antidotes for an Alibi *(Blazvox Books), and the chapbook, *The People Instruments* (Pavement Saw Press Chapbook Award 2002). She currently teaches Creative Writing and English at Nassau Community College and teaches a workshop of her own design, *Making the Urban Poetic,* at Poets House in Manhattan. She is also an interview correspondent for miPOradio.