Two Poems

Michael Hofmann

They can’t get enough of the indecent
toy skeletons in copulo every which way,
the perpetual action heroes, the cast-off clothes
with writing on them, the mufla

and vulcanizadora shops, the girls in bathtub jeans
from no label they ever heard of,
no film without Schwarzenegger or Willis,
wrought iron and tin mirrors, sad tenor crooners

over brass, caja de ahorros (chamber of horrors),
joyerias (brothels), the prettier the place
the uglier the music, the men growing more and more
like themselves, the women more and more like the men,

an orange balancing on an orange
balancing on an orange, no dry stick poking
out of the ground without a flower, and those
flagrant skeletons – like there’s no tomorrow.

– The water deepens to iodine from brown.

What is there to wait for? The gulls to get bored
of their bouncy slick offshore. The sun to break through the qwerty clouds.
The entire coast to make more hag-stones, amber, jellyfish.
The sand martins to file themselves away in their cliffside tenements.
Or the cropped blonde to come back along the beach
with her mystery rucksack and impenetrable wraparounds,
her superbly articulated deltoids under the black wife-beater –

    to iodine from brown.