La Calle de los Salvados
A messenger on his bike at a light and
a horn-rimmed girl in a Camaro around
whom a salsa rises. Celia Cruz sings:
I am but a wind-tossed leaf longing
for a lover’s touch. No one
waiting in this traffic would be surprised to see
the sun darkened by this girl’s tear-streaked face,
to see her smudged blue eyelids make
disappear the clear, widening sky. Two dozen
schoolchildren walk through her tears.
They carry flowers from a garden
her heart has trampled through.
The messenger’s hands are golden; they’re
pollen covered, just as her red leather seats
and matching purse are pollen covered.
As she waits, the entire fourth grade
class slips inside her heart. She
thinks: Why have I cried so long?
The traffic light turns green and two sounds
break loose: the beating wings of the cellphone
in her handbag; and a street-fair tuba
played by a black bear announcing spring.
Clark and Belmont Ghazal
Two window washers radio for help when their Sky Climber hits a scaffold
on the way down. Someone yells out: Raise it the fuck up.
Down the street, three brothers turn on every faucet in the church bathroom
then sprint for the door. They push each other into bushes all the way home.
A woman applies her makeup at a traffic light while a chanteuse
pours her heart through a crack in the window.
An old man walks his wiener dog with her swayed back, nails clicking,
nipples hanging just off the sidewalk, connecting the neighborhood.
People, says a waitress standing on a counter, are we letting perfect
be the enemy of good? A plane flies in her left ear and out her cheek.
Commuters gather on the platform, eating their spiced meat and fries,
leaning on the heads of men who say they will cut our taxes.
We all stand in silence, facing in the same direction, waiting
for the next train, thinking that we’re not moving.
About the author
In 1970, after hearing Jerry Rubin speak, Mike Puican hitchhiked from a little town in Pennsylvania to Chicago to join the revolution. He is…Read the full bio
Issue 21 · October 2014
Table of contents
- From the editors
- Aubade in Transit
- Igbo Directions in Amsterdam
- on a wrought iron bench in Bristol
- Two poems by Jane Kirwan
- Amaszonas, S.A.
- African Soundscape
- Byzantium at the Bus Stop; Byzantium at the Mall
- The Fields of May
- Two poems by Bill Yake
- Two poems by Mike Puican
- High Jumping Silver
- Ocean Point
- the ground unfurls
- Three poems by Athena Kildegaard
- Postcard Prose
- Travel Notes