That awful February evening and the mythical descent to the Circle
When Cerberus, two headed or three headed depending on the source, crowned
With smooth and wispy hair, stuffed a crumpled dollar in my hand,
I went out with the sun making deals to never look up past my collar.
Public transit whisked me away, sitting opposite, watching at a tilt
Nervously, still star-gazing, the dirty gloves with the fingers cut through-
Wringing themselves into headless origami swans - afloat in the vodka
He drives me to drink while all my trust, or love, in the world just beads,
Scotch-guard, Teflon, little black gems like coal, off of his "independent"
Two-bit gutter trash, paper-maché Mephistopholean grin - bad shave,
But cute - my vulnerability in form: a dimpled chin beneath a baseball cap-
Horseshoe post for trinkets and baubles, my need, his cowardice.
Tell me again whi I love him - his eyes and passive, empty statuesque
Dreaming of La Hoya and a volleyball net world like a reality sieve -
With only the barking of seals and buoys to ground him in the sunset.
The world peeled like Bosnian film reels and the two sang, to each
Other across the wet black rubber skid-guard as the windows rattled
In my teeth - the road full of potholes and wooden bars, lined, and hovels-
Red awning "Chicken Mart," drumsticks by the pound, hand-slap, "soul-mate!"
Weaving, winding-back road, residential purgatorial poverty and graying
Women pushing shopping carts of blankets and half-crushed cans -
Like our mercurial conversation, I suffered at the fringe on food stamps.
Then we stopped - an end inertial shift half-bruising my ribs on the rail,
Like my deal hamster in a shoe box, held unsteadily, as I dug a hole-
And we stepped down across the gutter with the television dishes behind,
While he held open the door, we searched for hot chocolate in gas stations
In parallel across the road and circle, old generals held high upon the obelisk.
And the light went out behind the safety walls, standing, swirling muddy pools
Of plastic strings, perhaps glittering had I cared to notice and he drew up
Exchange for a cardboard box, fried chicken battered in my loyalty with
Greased-up, cut-out fingers and I can't buy trust with chocolate and icees,
Disappearing, pseudosiamese at their testosterone spikes: I stood shivering.
They returned, their prize, bonded hunters, "soul-mate," before the fractal
Processions filed by: Trojan bands, fat spandex-girls juggling fire, the military.
A heart behind those masks? - I wonder, he moves in the corner of my eye.
And, "no, I don't like riding crops" (I told her): I'm gorgeous because she's drinking.
At once, dangling my knife on a key-ring - it all ended and I crowned him, peace.
Walking back between the rails framing damp carnival shanty towns and trash,
He walked some eye-distance ahead under the trees like beaded curtains,
Just blue-black cookie-cutter smudge in the mist really, but all I heard were
The barking of seals where sports are a great substitute for compassion.
Eric D. Moore