Today is the day I stop smoking readsthe sign I no longer need at the bus stopI also don't need in front of the WalgreensI do because I am at present shorton an antibiotic which will killwhat unclean element has maybe clung to the now-recalled spinach I stuffed into sandwiches+ enjoyed earlier in the week, today I'm payingto clean up the mess I didn't know was inside mewhich means I'm everyone, just like anybody elsewith an astigmatic eye for beauty and questionsabout the tiny aches that occasionallyring the bell I believe my insides are, lungs+pancreas+heart+diaphragm all aligning as onebig bronze-cast thing whose tollingI've lived in luxurious obliviousness tobecause the smoke from all thoseCamel Lights meant a possible house fireyears down the line which meant nothing fromthe river shack of youth, meant nothing inthe wet view of my eyes which were thenbrand-new and helped me gather just the rightevidence to believe the usual tricks: causality,utility, precision, everything happens for a reasonand he's gone to a better place and if it's meant to befuck this, that last example a transcriptof how it looked when the man took a left+ sped the wrong way down the one-wayin front of Walgreens before slammingon his brakes at the next intersection and say [End Page 492]
anything you've done's different, better, sayyou've always been right to honk at the idiotsstretched before you, idling, making their seriouslyand come on and the light's fucking green, buddy wayto and from their average pains, theiras the song says minor falls and major liftsand when the guy realized his situationhe threw the land-cruising old brown Buickinto reverse, backtracked as another cardrove at him, the whole thing a slow automotive operaabout mistakes + meager attempts to fix,about doing right by making do, thenhe backed into the Walgreens lot, jumped outwith his arms raised and shouted, "Pay day!"and all of us in attendance nodded or clapped, madethe same sounds we usually do on seeinganother perfect example of whatever this is. [End Page 493]
Look Out Hollywood, Here I Come
Machado says it's good we knowthat glasses are for drinking but badthat we don't know what thirst is for, find mein the movie theater washed overby what I know is manufactured rainand to the woman on-screen who has yetto convince herself to kiss the manwho so hurt her at act 2's end I want to sendthe same letter I sent my baby-sitterafter I'd been cast, age thirteen, in my firstand only opera, telling her I'd be singingwhat she raised me hearing, Pucciniand Verdi, we hummed ancient Italianover macaroni lunches + she let mewatch Love Connection with her instead of takinga nap hence me believing I know anythingwhen it comes to choosing romancefrom among three possibilities in the spanof a commercial break, on-screen the woman'sgot wet hair and keys and half a mindto flee which was what we did after singingour dozen lines, there were eight of usin that opera's boy chorus, we sopranoedour bit then scampered off to make wayfor the adults + their complicated plotlines, watched from the wings as they sangof love and betrayal, each of our tongues working outhow we'd do it were it us up there, bodiesand desires full-sized, spotlit, I wroteto Nadia my baby-sitter thank you for puttingthat music inside me without addingI sang without understanding a single word, [End Page 494]
that I imagined the phrases to beunknowable birds letting go of the cageof my throat, I wrote without knowingmy voice would soon drop + thereforeI'd survive high school unpulverized + nowthe woman drops her keys steps back into...