Toronto // Nowhere

A man walks down a street
but only the street exists:

You can visit it if you like.
He walks through an arch

slung over his back.
Only the arch exists, barely,

a sad little thing, a facsimile.
He leans out over the water

and the water does not exist.
In its place is another water.

He takes a picture of a reflection.
Only the picture exists:

The reflection has washed out
to the other reflections.

A different man holds the photo.
I would like to meet him,

he thinks.

Jaw

with your jaw i have
slain a hundred men

slack
dulcimer ploughshares

the book that should not have been opened
says what if the book had not been opened

smooth teeth you
have eaten the world

lettres à un ami allemand

i would rewrite you
witless vile scared vain thing

who knows your address
double-windowed red little door

who tucks maps in pockets
for later for never

who bellows vanity into
white-hot absurdity

i would rewrite you
until you are the essential me

the invisible me
who is not and never

The City Is Too Full

Who works very hard not to see
Past the fence past the buildings
Past the road to the plain beyond

Who works very hard to keep from
Chewing its lip from grinding its teeth
From obsessing about stamps

Who is obviously not a horse
Who wears a tie who eats sushi at lunch
Who knows the words who must shout

Who works very hard not to stare at
This speaking in tongues streetside
Who thinks the city is too full

Or —

your bird
pressed up againt the bars

becomes a
hoarder of newspaper

whatever scraps
remain shitcovered

she will
take them
wash them
knit them
paint them
bend them
iron them

until that other bird
that 2/5 of a 1/3 frame

returns
or —

The Republic

the magnificent plundering animal
all brilliance all deception
tilts at mirrors
blows dually bolted smoke

jealous for its spangled unborn children
who can’t understand
why you can’t understand
you unumbilical
who must gulp great gusts of air
and exhale roughly the same

the scintillated homiciding beast
its razored horns its soft-furred arm
speaks peace peace
to the cradled corpse
who wouldn’t have any of it

its spit-dribbling children speak:
we in the brazen belly about to die
salute thee

the feathered frenzy mounts sunward
ever calling with another’s muscular voice
behold the glory
of the
republic

The Wish

That you might burst into this world
Screaming

From the category that contained you
The banded cradle

The hushed amniosis
Its hand over yours for the season

That you might burst into any world
Blooded

Wet
Shimmering oil on water

The bent and bending future pavement
Fraught with

That you might burst into flame
Summary heat

The reading of which
Turn also into fire

Turns as well into fire
Turns and into fire

That you might burst
A storm of feathers

Down
You go

The ground will
Not refuse you

No, You

Say,
You can manufacture love out of anything

And watch them say, no
you don’t understand love

Each in their own way
Wrong

Each chained to an imprecise
Metaphor

Love, after all
Is in the liver

Who else
What else
Could do it

i,

look at me

i mean nothing
i speak nothing

i born to great gasps of air blue
i exhaling now bluegrey

i present evidence
i anonymous fine dust

i sift
i finding nothing sift

i on the flat wheel turn
i am not fingers