Oct 25, 2020

Two Poems


NEBRASKA


It's been a long night tonight; I have sent in 

my application for a sleep permit hours ago, 

I-444. I got a notification it is being processed 

at the Nebraska Center for Insomniac Aliens. 

They first returned it saying I checked 

the wrong application type in my answer 

to question F-2. They even returned 

the check VOIDED. 


I've put on my nightly dress

thirteen times, trying to trick my body 

into tricking this 24/7 capitalist cycle 

into pausing. I refiled my application, 

this time ticking the right choice. 

I folded the clouds into paper planes, 

I waited for the rain to cum in my mouth,

I counted all the sheep in this nation.


Maybe I licked the wrong stamp,

maybe the postman is still at the trap 

house. Or maybe they don't speak

English in Nebraska.



AT THE JFK BACKROOM A.K.A THE MINORITIES’ ROOM



How can we, being here, enter, exit, being there? 

We, the grim clowns of destiny, more 

embossed by journey than destination, 

sit perplexed on cold legless chairs

stacked up, linear firm, soldiers 


watching onesleves, our bags gutted

at the crooked mouths of Irishmen

Caribbean men Italian men Chinese men

who make one strong nation

we pray at the officer’s altar for our lies 

to outlast, to outplay an empire 

we kiss on god’s ears to make them deaf

to burn their eyes, to damage their files, 

ignore the rainbow of brown and black 

men who seem to upset both their women 

and the males of whiteness


all I can see of my next-seat neighbor 

is his old trembling knees illuminating 

through the white dress a waving flag, 

nothing more irregular now than to breathe 

to swallow, lay down jaws, let words 

& pride slip south, straggling 

we come forward the start line 

& the end line are one


the enemy is before us immortal 

the friends behind don’t matter

there’s only one Russian among us

to sprinkle the room as random 

guts sprawling touching core to core

the fingers in 4 directions jittering

in them we hide the old maps  



* Published in the Fall 2020 issue of the Michigan Quarterly Review

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