Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Breathing Room

by David Klein

Death can come
and if I’m ready I’ll have him
under the sheets or on an asphalt
bed on a summer roof Rihanna
blasting to the max over street noise
a mongrel choir
fierce and clamoring
no psalm
no hymn rising
just What Is
Happening

On the Q train into Brooklyn
heading home from work
among the piled bodies on the Ferryman’s raft,
a life’s work
tallied on a MetroCard
we’ll shoulder ourselves breathing room
and do our thing, baby
just wail away
while the corpses dangle from handrails,
plugged into their music with its hackneyed ecstasies

I’ll give death a run for his money
kiss him on the mouth
blow breath into him
clasp legs hard around his waist
and past the end of time
we’ll dance

Elusive Alchemist

by Laura Kaminski

I bought a guide to local
birds, thought I might learn
to recognize a feathered
phrase or two. It is
a rainbow codex, organized
by plumage, begins with
redwing blackbird’s flashy
epaulets, woodpeckers’ helmets,
then proceeds with cardinal-
and robin-red, works through
to shades of jays and bunting-
indigo.

But it cannot guide me
now, three hours after
midnight, searching in
the darkness for a fiddler
and his echo. I am far
beyond the limits
of the rainbow. I am out
without a flashlight
and the moonlight keeps
its secrets, it won’t reveal
sources, and I cannot see
the whippoorwill.