Speeding Down the FDR
Dressing himself in the cab for one room then another.
The new fame on the radio playing—past the cathedrals,
toward the young graves after that.
In the dusk, they sold flowers to everyone
stopped at our red light. In this life you’re far.
Like the sun appears to the water when late.
All those people you see, all the hallways you drink in;
through tunnels and traffic—you might wear a tie,
you might keep your shoes on forever today.
Let them photograph your soul, says Jimmy.
Memorize your alleys, take yourself back home.
Already we’re here and already we’re through it.
The toll’s blinking wildly at you.
They’ll stop you from smoking indoors, they’ll arrest you.
But no one can stop you from kissing the wrong kind of men.
Up ahead, a police car lights up like a kids fair.
The phone in my hand won’t keep still.
Maybe it’s you and you’re driving the wrong way;
a feeling you hailed once.
Something to steer you toward me then away.
If the shirt’s fitted well, ten blocks and it’s off you.
If the light starts to bother, let it grow darker still.
I was speeding down the FDR one night,
it was August and heavy.
I am speeding down the FDR tonight,
it is April and dead. Who would drive himself away?
There’s a stranger who’s doing it for me.
Who would drive herself below?
Like a bath in street clothes.
Eyes on the throat, money counted to zero.
And everyone’s cleaned up like heaven.
Believe it. Everyone’s dressed down for hell.
Speeding Down PCH
Almost arriving, I’ve gone somewhere else.
You threw so much of yourself getting where,
going far, like the waves growing restless
in a white convertible speeding down PCH.
Who could lie? It’s still such a pleasure and panic
to wake up alone, unable to answer
one person instead of two.
I arrange the pills into hearts, spread them over the desk:
we are not mathematics.
When the waiter tells me his name
it’s the part of the meal I like most.
I am never coming back.
Even if the setting is different, even if the plan
is to speed through it twice. A vase—some familiar face
instead of a clock on a mantel.
A video of a person with both hands in his hair.
I come to your door, get you off,
watch you shave in the morning.
Through the hurry (inside the waiting)
I realize the director is someone who doesn’t show up.
Like the end of the day, I am orange for more
and in minutes I go dark.
What you’ll find is our lives are addictions:
money, love, gossip. Gossip, love, work.
And if the video plays as it should,
both hands do come down.
The hair’s going any which way and the gaze
can’t be read—even looking into the camera is dying.
Why fight it. If you die enough times
you become your own saint.