Two Poems — C Nolan DeWeese



Pumps line one wall of the bedroom
like the bibliography of her life story.

A candle framed by an open window
dances The Suicide with the midnight wind.

A jungle of lacy things drip and hang everywhere,
exotic fruits that ripen by hiding from the sun.

And they are blooming, in the red light.


I was there on business, peddling maps
to the human heart, which were actually maps

of Wichita, Kansas but slightly modified,
spurious legends quoting Neruda

instead of the Midwestern Topographic Society,
each river carefully plumbed red, arteries

being the major battlegrounds of our times.


Elephantine posters of French couples kissing
cover the walls like advertisements

of what will not happen. I wish I was French
so I could kiss her in my native tongue,

her mouth soft as a soufflé or a Bastille,
forbidden as a rose growing on the moon,

scarlet red draped over pale, eerie cheeks.


Out the window, if I squint, Aurora Avenue blossoms
into a bustling piazza during the festival di neon.

She keeps her eyes tied to the candle
as if she has a personal stake in its dance,

exposed flame in a world lit by brakelights.
"Naked, you are simple as a hand," I begin.

Her eyes don't flinch: she is already mine.




wondering what our cities advertise if not the future

as some variation on a preexisting theme, even the rats

and cockroaches that will doubtless be its footnotes

underneath grand avenues that could be anywhere

inbetween where we were and where we want to be


the trash gets collected around evening in this neighborhood

we walk, each eye a telescope scanning the asphalt horizon,

each block stinky with possibility; a pile of disco records,

a rusted box, yellow scripted letters that say J.A. Bradley

like the painter knew every answer turns into a question


call it the forgotten land of a thousand stoops:

more plaques planted than trees, historical figures summed up

succinct as new genus's of insects, old men wearing

Hawaiian or boring, shrugs rolling like loaded dice

and "you can't eat your hat if you don't got any mustard"


the same stores perfumed and immaculate on different corners

like lovers we want to believe fate has prescreened and selected

but somehow wrong: mannequins up close, or models

paid to sucker us inside, squeezing our hands and laughing,

advertising beauty as a generational investment


names of 40's: Rotting Lightning, Halfway There, Street Cred,

Spit Eye, Glass Eye, Crooked Eye, Gizzard Juice, Steel Toe,

Short-Cut, Rattlesnake Tide, Malt Assault, Clothes Line, One-Honk,

Liquid Plumber, Yellow Snow, Air Pocket, Fancy Brown,

Olde Sweetheart, Free Game, Leprechaun Glasses, Class Warfare


we sketch maps of the city, highlight the best neighborhoods,

and people say our generation doesn't know how to get busy.

these days you can study Melville or the architecture of freeways:

trash is a teacher with different credentials, a plastic badge,

a puzzle that excites because it may be missing pieces


evening builds streetlights and neon signs

as the city starts to look more like itself, which is to say a map

of electricity that is also a song, and a cage that glows

like nothing we can change with our shaking hands,

seeing as it's no orchestra and we don't have rifles


office buildings grow from the asphalt like fruits

altered for easy stackability, juice glowing yellow with sweetness

inside, almost bursting the windows. we scan the horizon

for pasture, but past the river is only Jersey's stripmall fields,

sewn with bowling alleys, silos repainted into giant lipsticks


each night when I can't sleep, I pick one skyscraper light

and stare, hoping some slow janitor will turn it off before sunrise.

each day that I feel defeated, alien and lost completely,

I remember there is dirt somewhere under our trash,

hidden like rats inside the things we've built


the moon is made of the purest trash, neon in the black,

whistling Tin Pan Alley songs into a rusting old microphone;

each intersection becomes familiar, the bags incognito, faces

pointing the way home, which is every direction, which is trash,

the bags tied shut, the world bound in secret knots

typo magazine — issue three