Two Poems

Map of America

trace the pacific coast with your hand
feel the moisture on your fingertips crossing the Missouri the storms
off the gulf of mexico thrashing you taste the

bitter flavor of the alcoholics the never really clean
rest station toilets rotten seafood in the bars on park avenue enter with me
enter the golden peep shows inhale the perfume
of those girls ruined by overuse

see the cruelty of the game shows look at those men wrapped to their teeth
making their way up democracy’s dark cliffs
hear the wail of the underground parking garages
the roar of the broadcasting stations announcing the flood
hear the slow drone of the lone supervisors of the apocalypse
January 2001

 

 

Suffolk, VA

to say suffolk, virgina isn’t saying much
you need a gigantic magnifying glass like in the asterix comic
instead of romans behind the village husbands at the wheel
kids with their schoolbags wives waving under the 8 o’clock sun

but even greater magnification is needed a thicker lens
to see what lurks behind the blinds: brown stains
on an off-white face tears kept on the nightstand
bags packed 620 dollars

under the floorboards a copy of the car keys
a map of america black lace lingerie for rainy days . . .
nothing escapes this sun poisoned by the lens:
light and heat over this point on the map this pathetic

point on the map
which will bust into flames if the poem doesn’t close with this line

March 1999

 

Translated by Chris Michalski