Two Poems

August Kleinzahler

Hyper-Berceuse: 3 a.m.

Imagine in all the debris of space
The countless trade names

Jugurtha Tuwolomne Chert-Farms

Some of these belong to you
Can you tell which ones
Each has its own sequence of microtones
Together they make up a kind of tune
Your tune
The ceiling and walls are star maps
Breathing, alive
Those aren’t stars, darling
That’s your nervous system
Nanna didn’t take you to planetariums like this
Go on, touch
Lovely, isn’t it
Like phosphorus on Thule Lake
Sweet summer midnights
Shimmery, like applause under the skin
Can you make it out
Almost a hiss
An old shellac LP of white noise
Playing in the distance
Foolish, troublesome boy
That hapless adventuring of yours
Be very still
Now can you hear it

After Lady Murakami

These sleeping used-car dealerships
and blowing wrappers

how many lost evenings
the meagreness, the waste

when suddenly the squeals
of a transvestite

about to gobble her cellphone

* * *

Just as I found myself
in the dentist’s chair

only yesterday
hands clenched against my thighs

so I find myself here
in this seat

heart in my throat

as you walk into the room

* * *

The cherry blossoms are late
this year

I had nearly forgotten about them

the pleasure they bring
always fresh, a delicacy to it

because the poets say so

or just because

* * *

I had on my favorite kimono
not the most precious

but the one that calls attention
to my eyes

yet when you turned
it was as if a thought, like a tick

had started to bite
and then changed its mind

* * *

Do they know who I am
these gibbering little foreigners

coarse, frenzied
like perfumed monkeys

her servant’s averted eyes
dew on her sleeve
and all the rest

none of it, never even heard
of Lady Murakami

as they crowd me aside
at the sale bin