in the bolted dusk of imagination, this bridge uncurls its busted
lugs & screws in a fishhook shape—just like the keys on the last
saxophone Sonny Rollins stashed up here for his bridge practices.
Those keys—a hexagon for rust’s trail of exhaust pipes & slowfooted
battleships. Always, oxidation over a convoy of striped
bass & trash barges built up with old stoves, empty canteens,
& tire shavings—a heap taller than the barge pilots themselves.
Always, the river doubling under a split-shine of clouds. There’s
a hovering screen of bugs & sun-burned seagulls circling for fish.
There’s a bridge creaking the suicidal possibilities in bent guardrails.
I never liked bridges, the way they lord over possibility like trips
do stairs—down the blue & white set next to the gym after first
period, shoe lace caught under some bully’s Keds. Worse: in blue
Jams & pushed off summer’s blue edge, long fall into the pool
broken into three distinct moments: the flail & giggling girls,
the sun-stroked lifeguard’s exclamation, & pool impact like a redhanded
backslap while the sky split into two chlorinated skies.
Mural with Dwyane Wade, Stars, & Minivan (2003)
& these stars slosh like a nightcap. These stars glint
like door handles in a nightlight. Stars squinting
like an old timer set-shotting from half court. There’s
history in that monochromatic backspin. Two stars—
a sideways wink. There’s history in that again. Marquette
almost making it all the way to the big game again.
The shimmering substance of them: layups, fastbreaks.
Stars got some explaining to do again like the time
I Schwinned all the way to College Park to see my girl
at the exact same time Pops left the grocery. He chased
me down at least two streets & across the basketball
court in his white minivan before I gave in. He said,
What is this? This star ish. Every moment of belted
humility is starish. Scratches like star stitching on my bike
after it got jammed into the back of the minivan. Stars
hanging feedback like follow-through. A gold belt buckle
following through on the down swing. That sound? That’s
the sound of a whole galaxy lotioning its chipped skins.
Engraving with Clouds, William Blake, & Portishead
We used white to make the jackets & when there was no more
white to shape lapels in Sonny Crocket patterns, we used ideas.
& when no there were no ideas to light the fluttering bulbs
in the local towns, we bedazzled every song ever experienced
& held the notes up to the sun’s gleaming grill. We swigged
clouds, then called it a poem. Pages & pages of lines—circuitous
as the press-on clouds in a dreamer’s sky. This is the metaphor
of fake nails & poems—those blinking rhinestone shorts, those
winking rims shined up like the almost-gold chains in the mall
kiosk. Poems as tricked out as the Portishead show I turned down
a promotion to almost see before my friend passed out. It must
have been the strobes flipping like trochees & the background
turning two white lines into a P that night. It must have been
the beats breaking apart like poorly stitched poems that night.