you say you've another city caught
between your teeth, one
resembling a gale or a tempest,
Aiolos' sackful of illicit, imperfect wind.

the bones, dead, are always buildings though
the clench of jaw is more metaphoric: a chomp
down each alleyway, scouring the gutters, retrieving
the scattered pieces of your self: some blood, a mitten,

a scrap of thigh.  though where are these boys now?
you've written their names in black and green marker,
laminated the list and filed it away so that you will not forget
the anonymity of touch.  you do not think

of your behavior as stereotypical, as dirt upon dirt.
you do not see the world in terms of theories
or misogynies.  you merely open the bag up
to the despot city in its parched entirety: the rats,

the tramps, the wistful vagabonds
who travel between or push through blusters
along the main street until the urge comes,
making sticky the pee-stained floors of public johns?

if i'd left my own skin behind (wind aside),
trapped and made transparent by the harsh shine
of light across cracked tile, upon returning
to retrieve it whose would i find lying there, coiled and

ravaged, instead? how much of your own self
have you left behind in these peeling, transient stalls?
how much of your self have you lost unwillingly
to the city? how much wind have you let loose?

2002 kris t. kahn.  All rights reserved. 


  More Poetry

arguing with the troubadour

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