From The Clichéist, published by Nightwood Editions in 2005, www.nightwoodeditions.com. This poem also appeared in Fist of the Spider Woman, a poetry anthology published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2009.
There is no such thing as slowing this down. You are on your way to a day you planned to spend alone. You now know only that you are alive in the taxicab, seconds before it pours itself around a pole. You hear the prayer of the driver, a woman yelling through the inch of your opened window, and then neither. Just the song coming softly through the system. And it is not the kind of song that makes you hang your head in your hands, give up, not the gravelled voice of a poisoned smoker about to outlive you, or a hymn that lets you go. It is the soundtrack of a hand on your back, the way your mother hums when she picks up the telephone. You think of it as you clamour to the curb, as you prop yourself against the collapsed salt box. You can still hear the strings. Kissed on the face by a leaf you cannot bother to remove it. You know when the song picks up. You picture the cello being crushed between the knees, the pianist pedalling in coal black shoes, the femur of the flute in the flautist’s lap, shining, geared. There is the taste of that steel on your lips. You inhale to make any sort of sound. You almost place your mouth there and breathe.