Li Po Comes to America


I

American Bad Ass

Nancy spikes the sun—her fingertips are frozen
as she collects leather strips, peels them into squares

of boredom.  She shakes dust from her pocket
barters for ten-dollar hand jobs while Sid talks

nonstop.  He sulks in shadows on the stoop—
rips up the sidewalk with a muted stare.


II

We get inked at Skin Kitchen Tattoo Studio

I make a fist to the needle-buzz
smell rain in your hair
as my arm burns.

Someday you will forget
my name—I will not remember
the curve of your breast.


III

Drinking alone

The sun is too hot, I can hear the rush of the river
echo in my ears—a bartender pretends to care
about the politics of loneliness as he snatches a five

from the table.  When it's dark I can see the outline
of your body against the moon—a few more drinks
and I will be able to cut my face on your skin.


IV

American woman

I'll bet you can remember the day
the moon was born—I imagine you
spun a robe of gold to wear that day.

I see a cardboard sign propped at the side
of the road, a bottle is emptied —the wind
blows a hole in your memory.


V

Battery Park

A dragon-fly nips at the heels of the moon,
the moon, being pious, scatters your breath
across the street like fire.

Let's head west, pin our past to mile markers,
build a cherry-red house on the flatland—
bury our future in a shallow grave.


VI

Las Vegas

Feeling naked and slightly less than perfect
she waits for the moon to rise.

What seems like wind is only the sound
of my breath as it bangs against the wall.  
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