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10

Born in a town named for it
she never worshipped

a sundown song strung between
any two upright things

She slipped right by & nobody
heard the radio retune itself

the lake roll over into an impossible
bloom of perpetual summer

every knee in the place
brown with exposure or bruise

He called her down the hall
He called her from the car

He called her everything but
her given name she’d trashed

retuned toward anywhere 
anywhere anywhere

else away


—
The place where we are going
is the place where we were
before we were born 
(Joanne Kyger, “Saturday Radio”)
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9 (on day 10)

I wanted the natural 
but all I had was the pale green

so the monster’s
not getting made today

In New Orleans a bar & clinic
team up to organize Shots for Shots

& I envy everybody, the bar, 
the clinic, the shots, the bared arms

the street outside with folding chairs 
lined up, the bands that happen by

& stop because people waiting 
need something to dance to

the window several blocks down
with you a shadow in it, 

swinging out, spooling to reach me
ready to take in as much as you can
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8

We get too late a start
floundering in all this unpeeled light.

In the films the wallpapered trains
are gorgeous even though I know they’re brittle

boxes hammered together on a stage.
Rattle us headlong to anywhere

demented light, toss me side
to side, reaching for a dining car chair.

The fur is fake. The eyebrows fake.
The steamship and the mountain 

are real.
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7

Later       after the trap’s
been licked clean       after I’ve
nearly forgotten how the bite smelled green
she’ll come through          aflame & rampant      
ready to run it from the top

If the film is silent        does it better
or worse represent the voices
Joan says she hears?        I’m used to it but how 
will she come through       fulgent in low-gear fury
her bitten reply      ask me Saturday

Raise the window
Raise both arms
Pull the armor off           over your bitten head

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6

Adorn, I am a bitter tear
caught in a dotted glass tonight
       or
a lark of flotsam

I glom all sleep
grow tacky as pine tar
       but
blear, I hear you

I do fret with every finger
       or
reach for blown registers
I’m no twist of lemon

evergreen distilled to froth
      or
three drops of vanilla 
set to harden on the snow 

I don’t possess
the big stainless bowl
the worn wood spoon to drum it
      or
the weather to bring
her back