Saturday, May 1, 2010

Timothy Liu

Next Day

Between the cycles of wash and rinse, a song
about to be sung, all ears lulled by a radio
while toddlers teeth on disposable pens,
while lovers spill speed across the stones
of a glassed-in vivarium, lepidoptera at rest,
in flight, in dreams, each caught in a storm
of juvenile chatroom cyber smut soaking up
chronic carpal tunnel pixel by pixel, hypnotic
pre-dawn infomercial drone in exchange for
flat TV and digitized sound, our solitudes
wired into subterranean optic lines, decrypted
surge-protected codes cruising anonymous
glass abuzz with neon glow and embryonic
lexia languishing on a music stand, marginal
notes scribbled-out below the staff, below
the institutional clock face masking hours
in that brownout run ariot, your appetite
camouflaged in grunt fatigues dirtied-up
at the knees, a song about to be sung, daisy-
chained anxieties now horse-drawn through
a gas-lit park where the dread of connubial
bliss and miniscule tectonic shifts delivered
a tremor through the family skating rink—

-previously published at Shampoo


Clutching hard to handouts tantamount to love
scrawled on a cocktail napkin stashed inside

a mother’s purse in lieu of watching us perform
as boredom shows, or few, or none, a ghost

scaling up that brick façade where three stone
busts preside—Whitman, Dickinson, Keats—

bolted as they are to a crumbling window ledge.

Woman with Dog, 1917

Meaty flowers plastered to a stuffed
crimson chair, her folded elbows
propped on a canine’s jackaled spine—
the lap dog’s triangular head at rest
facing us like an enormous blackened
sex. It made its way to the Midwest
nonetheless—a gift from Owen &
Leone Elliot who could spot a fair
Soutine. Imagine them looking at this
thing each night in that farmhouse
along the edge of the Iowa River
with a meat-and-potatoes mouthful
of corn right off the cob. No wonder
they had no choice but to give it up.


Sun-bleached forelock poking out of a backwards
baseball cap. And it’s spring again—jeans torn

above both knees, the crotch mended with a patch.
This morning’s sun lighting up the length of it
from here to where you are, a bathrobe coiled
around your feet. Had wanted to say. Had loved

the place. The spot quote: staging the appearance
as disappearance. It’s spring again—a squadron
of tornadoes touching down near Disney World, all
the world “Disneyfied,” or so you said slumming

across Times Square that summer before the sex
stores closed—El Niño up against the West Coast.

-all three poems previously published at Perihelion

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