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Chris Martin

Surviving Desire


Coming out of

The tunnel from Carroll Street

The graffiti reads CHOKES



And we the passengers

Convene momentarily, our anonymous lot


Suspended slant as if

Preparing to nosedive on some

Futuristic and ad-laden


Rollercoaster safely blasting

Through the patently everyday

Landscape of traffic


And ruin, rivet-studded

Girders grumpily trellising

The smog-blue-gray


Sky, May and too

Many mornings have I spent

This week observing


The recumbent figures

Of capital tragedy

Their scaly ankles dangling


From soot-soured Wranglers and likeness

Is likewise suspended in favor

Of a proximity, our teetering off


And on pattern of tapering

Parabola shapes arbitrarily weaving

Depths and it depends


On the curious phases a face

Makes wincing at nature, the maturing

Content of cells, can you see this


Sound collecting there in spastic

Syllable growths? It’s cyclical

The way one devours his own carefully


Tended ignorance, a slow

Canceling of accumulated skew

As the mutilations fall


Off and are just as quickly

Replaced by others, the spells

One conveniently


Forgets, the mask one

Tries on and unobservantly

Absorbs, the train’s


Sibilant burble hurrying

Forth as the signal greens and I

See nothing


Barely beneath this

Concrete, no lurid node

Pulsing beyond


The sky’s stately

Dome, I say fuck this forever

Grope after the mysteries


Of a sphere eaten by worms

Regurgitated by birds

Paralyzed by windowpanes, we are all


Forced to mourn at the outrageous

Tombstones these towers make, rifling 100%

Cotton clouds as a little girl


In a purple sweater chases a brown

Pigeon along the platform’s orange edge, believing

Is a form of expectation, tonight


I shall dream of newspapers

Wrapped in fish , of smog wrapped

In skin as sometimes


I tremor at the way

The world seems so vigorous

One second and the next


It’s swimming, each dumb leaf

Resorting to metaphor

As every winking turn traps


You into thinking that life

Is a meticulous plot dimly allotted

To you alone, people


Topple, transubstantiation

Fails, we fall into knowing before

We know that


Knowing is not enough.



Recommence Everything


If I am to be committed

To transcendence, to merely say that

There is a body is not


Yet to deal with it , if my looks go

Everywhere they are

Selfsame slaughtered by the manner


In which they snag, a car

Illuminates in panic every thirteen

Minutes or so and it’s driving


The neighbors nuts, while the socioeconomic

History of golf pollutes

The branch in the hand of the kid


Swinging at an imaginary

Ball, the handshakes

Here are reversible, we touch


Touching the way these fall dragonflies

Flee the invisible weft

They sew into the air that unites


Above our heads, today’s weather

Report calls for abundant

Sunshine as a man with a limp


Plods past the girl

Asleep in her tiny camouflage

Bikini and if she dreams


Of the secret blackness

Of milk , it’s only these pinks

Lazily invading


Her back as a sigh

Descends over the scene, all the girls

Putting on their shirts, we must


Recommence everything just

Moments after it’s begun, the sun

Shines abundantly down


Upon the clouds, or briefly

Breaks on the totality

Of a dog, or the simple impression


Of the totality of

A dog and there’s something

About lived life that leaves


Itself in intractable

Tufts upon the heart, it’s tough

Being a thing


Which understands enough

Of what it means to be

Seen to see others in the nightmare


Of consciousness, which is nonetheless

A dream, which is nonetheless

A choice without choice, spiraling


Like the intertwined black

And white on the disc

Of the hypnotist, whose colors


Remain fixed, we remain

Unconvinced by the spectacular

Passing of modes, want


Our ears near the frequencies

Of I hear myself

With my throat and what the throat


Thinks we drink , let

Each cell in your body bulge

With song, there is room


For more, a mouth, a moon, again.


The Science Fiction of Color


At Delancey a man

Babbles with his neck

On his chest


Like a bib, a teenage girl allows

Her leg to dangle over

A startled teenage boy, both laughing


Their window in the twenty-second

Commercial of childhood, our attention

Wavering as the world


Does, petals

Of neglect shedding

At the periphery


Of the eye, knowledge subsumed

By our desire for desire, only

Today I discovered John McEnroe


Owns Gerhard Richter’s Girl

On a Donkey , the nature of perversion

Perpetually shifting as one’s dream


Dwindles in the lens

Or is lost adrift

The swifts’ delirious plunge


As gentle earthquakes pervade

As the little tear gland

Says tic-tac and petty octogenarians


Crowd the Lexington

Storefronts where white girls

Spill their blank


Guts between pages in the cloud

Book, waiting for Max

Ernst’s Science Fiction of Color


Summer correspondence

Course to begin, each

Benign conscience quietly plagued


By the interregnum, it is not trivial

This death we die not

Dying, the blur of sexuality


Metastasizing in blinks, I never

Imagined I’d marry

An aristocrat, nor quote


The adages of some thickly accented

Bavarian, some stupidity

Is heroic , some heroes assume


The village children

Are blind, I can’t

Count the number of times


I’ve thought the world

Different only to find my fingers

Twittering in their familiar


Way, the reflective scallops

My nails make shaking

Like gusts furrowing a sail


And so I am too

Fraught with this calligraphic

Landscape we speed


Too sure these unsteady words

Are like a frowning woman who wants

Desperately not to sleep


Here tonight, if reality

Is temporal why not write

Poems the size


Of cathedrals, at 4th Avenue

The conductor howls, the dreaded

Man sings Ain’t no


Sunshine as the sunshine

Streams through keyed plastic, a mother

Gabs on her phone as her baby


Bellows and that’s life

In the ten-second

Opening of train doors don’t


Be afraid to give everything away.

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