I. Falling

The blow

uproots me,

a sapling

torn by wind,

ejects me

off the world,


to a black hole

at the bottom of space.


Shock waves


into the stratosphere.

Continents, oceans blaze.

Beggars riot in New Delhi.


Perched above the dream

on a smoking fragments,

I pack cartridges,

watch my shape



The pale infant head,

spinning target eyes,

mouth of sparrow beak





II. Eyes


I am followed

by hooded men

stretching rubber legs

from tree to tree

along night streets

in the old neighborhood,



Spotlights from their eyes

crisscross the pavements,

but I pretend not to notice.

if I just stay calm and don’t run

they might call it off—

dogs bored with their own snarling.


I keep telling myself

“Turn down an alley,

crawl through a window,

wait as they slide by.”

In the streetlight

I see the barbed wire barricade.


What offense has been committed?

Why do they follow

but never attack?

“Who are you?” I shout,

“What do you want?

Give me more than echoes.”


Their light tubes converge.

I can’t run,

legs too heavy and

it’s strapped to my back

like a guitar.


I prepare for an assault

that never comes,

just one large eye

opening above the sycamores.


I climb its beam,

poke my head into a socket,

squeeze, wriggle through,


into a field of flowers.


I hear myself laughing,

“Aha…..so this is how it is,”

and float like cottonseed

on a warm wind,







III. Machine Gun Fire


The car has no driver.

It takes the curves

at ninety-six.

Crouched in the back seat,

hands chained to ankles,

I wait for the crash.


The car fishtails

through stoplights,

railroad crossings,

striped road blocks,

plunges over

the hill’s crest

banging parked cars,

light poles, curbings,

the retaining walls,

that funnel it

into plate glass.


They stand near the pool table

under mobster hats,

chalking cue sticks,

laughing at the wreckage,

at me broken on the floor.

They are all here—


fathers, grandfathers,

generations of anger,

clucking tongues,

wagging fingers,

pursing lips.


I find the leather case,

unpack each carefully oiled part,

assemble it,

adjust the sling,

load, release the bolt—

chink, chunk—

tuck it under my arm,

and then I fire

scattering brain bit and bone.


Before this is over

I will kill them all,




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