Demarcations in Birmingham
not as in a city. looped by train track
of iron & not rabbit ears peaking up
inside the top hat center stage three card
monte. an imaginary heart broken eons
before the link between real & unreal,
to believe shadows can (re)exist under
so much weight but people have known
less. the wooden nickel behind the lobe,
52 playing cards only one can be pulled
miraculously in & of itself, the metaphor
to bask oftentime brilliant, as if by magic
a collective resistant & we should resist
the loop a cycle to locate trauma inside
laughter amazingly. digital lights light
arties within the city much rural darkness
just outside edges secreted is the secret.
directly parallel to winding railroad track
just at & on the other side, synthetic blues.
gray shotgun shacks reside at the border
& further back perhaps the back of a bus
people had to deal with a lineage of race
at the cross. before the rail guard laid down
there was always a sense of r:e:d a:l:e:r:t.
safety in volatile numbers were abundant
or skin became comfort became a pride:
we not wild animals someone screamed,
on the six o’clock news a troubling nation.
idle days the rainbow stretches too wide
against intricate wind before the tornado.
listening at the intersection of vernacular,
between two office buildings downtown,
north of the lone greyhound bus station,
aging department stores laces one skyline.
the other unraveling complicated allegory
to understand anger tuned critical, lost
in translation, chaotic memories of hate.
Down by the Water She
unlike venice this is not a water city, aesthetic
lakes accent woodlands too distant to color.
the skyline opens gray, dragonflies break
fast over the water’s surface. one solemn face
looking back into a woman’s reflection. sometimes
bodies transparent themselves. the woman
graven but more by gravity’s dead weight. down
& through ravines a lone raven sings. graffiti
scribbled on the moving train out of focus,
the woman blinks twice to see herself clearer
by the prosthetic arm attached below elbow.
her hand grazes over an outline to brush away
wind blowing hair into sight, irises burned
by the sun; it was hung in the sky before noon.
she could not google nor question by internet,
erratic discovery should be left to imagination.
pulling into the train depot after dark
the windows darkened more by opaque
filled with afterglow. absent fireflies
clearly: the grotesque could not be seen.
what awaited, by chance, a honeysuckle wind
looping as i exited i realized i had not.
only the return
is guaranteed home.
a string of lamplights elucidate downtown
’s supernatural: a child billy clubbed, a sheppard,
streaming water; it all be one blue haze.
in order to forget i have to remember
the hollowed out vibration of dynamite.
then too the confused humming-
birds lift, like a helicopter, straight up
at midnight. both of us confused in the crosswind
’s promises of violent. my finger pressed
to the curve of a trigger inside a pea coat.
Listen to the Echo
the white whipcrack opening
of daybreak: here
is what we know predicated
on yesterday: forgettable
june bugs radiate green fluttering
constant the unknown
unspoken but loudly a pause: history
perhaps the elephant in the room
society constructs itself
complicated & stuck
on color: none
or no such thing exists for light
clearly pigmented: we shadow
ourselves singing in a conch shell
faint but an echo: orange
the sky will die soon faded