The Locals Just Call it T.S.T.
Before this station was built we had already been intercepted
by scaffolding intersecting suits against shopping
bags coughing against shallow drums, construction site
clinkering, watches scraping wrists, hemp woven totes of bath salts, scented
candle, toothbrush, laundered clothes arriving in Tsim Sha Tsui her place
in Kowloon got tinier and tinier as island prices
grew and grew and, our square meters shrank to the blue-
prints of long weekends, store stickered DVDs, the candies from childhood.
== Island Line
The walk sign percussive street strum strumming
noodles wafting, this soapy sticky day today a
two t-shirt day:
one for now, and later everything
== West Rail Line
T3 typhoon warning means 110 km/hr winds
(I think that's 70 miles/hr in American) hail
possible we raised our laptops to the sky because we couldn't bear another US$5 umbrella, crystallization of water into ice but the cold like up to
our ankles cold water, street drains slowly, gasping, quick-quick-quick
breaths, that's how the civil
engineers designed these pedestrian overpasses: raising us far above
what we can afford, but not any closer, not
== Tsuen Wan Line
Tonight here the bed is vacant.
I weigh myself, get room service.
Next year this hotel will be a shopping
mall. Into the curve of Prince Edward
spilled streets of red-bodied taxis,
trying for the front of the line,
full of downward glancing faces,
the empty ones are stopping first.
// first appeared in The Hong Kong Review (Winter 2018)
17 Year Old Boy Absconds with $2000 (Willa Cather Said to Charge it to Her Room at the Waldorf)
Revolver loaded with the last red carnation petal
Hold it until it fades! Hold it until it fades!
Hold it meaning meaning Stop! Don’t move!
or stop. Still. Hold me tight to your heart
I want art. I want to go to New York City.
Don’t we all. Don’t we all
son, but climbing stairs to shelve knuckletight accounting ledgers is what a Man --
what a Man needs to do is to prove himself without frivolity to father, to mother (gone).
Typewriters percussive. I wish my eyes closed in cadence, cadence.
I don’t want to be you. I want the world that you have. I am:
at Don Giovanni from the balcony box crimson velvet like a rising bruise.
telling coach drivers, “Brooks Brothers first, then to my suite at the
Edward Hopper’s New York Movie wishing I was
Edward Hopper’s Front Row Orchestra
first class on the White Star line, drinking champagne from Waterford crystal
(which I know is different from the water glass.)
these photographs here: The Plaza, the chandeliers, the gaslight
iron arch thinly, tin-backed backing in my chest pocket, keep them here.
So much of the world from a steam trunk,
So much of the world on a train schedule
34th Street to Newark Penn Station the last of my coins for the coachman,
Charon now steering horses for a living, threading precise tracks in the snow by now.
My balcony a bridge, I abscond to the place where my tailored trousers cantilever the limestone,
train engines typewriter their way near, now less frivolous a sound.
Close --shh--it’s coming --close--it’s coming--close. Closed. What fine clothes! Closed.
The bed of the track the doesn’t care for The Gentlemen, but lulls our angled, flying
bodies. My red carnation, my pillow, my face, my fiber, my snow
fall. These flowers are not for my mother…
they are for me. I am close. I am a part of this closeness.
I am the wealthy patron of anonymity, the financier of proximity.
“...the blue of Adriatic water, the yellow of Algerian sands…”
we think not now of how far we jump but floating, fast, how far we land.
// first appeared in The Hong Kong Review (Winter 2018)
Three Snow-Diffracted Views of The Green Gallery in Milwaukee
( 31°F, 17:52)
Even for Wisconsinites, springtime Milwaukee snows don’t make
sense. Cases of Lakefront Brewery are chilled (definitely chilled) tableneath corrugate desking
I listened to a David Bowie biography in the rental car and watched the front
door like I was a private investigator in a bad 1980s spy movie.
I ran across the street, visions of sliding cable vans careening my down
feather clad body into a snowmush yurt’ed up around a No Parking Tow
Away Zone on Ward Ave. I’m so nimble like a
( 32° F, 18:08)
Question commerce as if the things we own
are extrapolations of who I wish to be
-come I scroll I page.turn we price.list we finger.scan we red.dot
(29 ° F, 18:56)
Think traveling is glamorous keep thinking
wall to wall glass overlooking the Milwaukee river, the smoke
stacks and frozen mall parking decks. No room service but a server will run
your burger and Single Hop up to your room if you order before 22:00. Collect
and view for ourselves the mythology of people who never come home and they be
-come life stories of spouses who disappear into the blizzard when all they wanted was BBQ from the Pick n Save.
I’ll skip the burger. I’ll stand in
front of the fitness center gym mirroring my wall to wall light fluorescent shadow craft chiseling
home is 2,454 miles away where it’s 70° F and a pot of water is boiling at 100 °F and she
stares into a phone that she never remembers to charge and she is married
to pixels jet lagged on hotel WiFi.
The catalog I want to order from is this:
-I can hear the page turn flipflapping
-I might cut my finger if I edge too quickly
-I have to outlive
-I possess coat sleeves never empty long enough for her to try me on for size,
-wishing that her husband never disappeared in the first
place streets swallowed snowmelt,
heard it slooshing through the pipes in parking deck, my parking
pass with the stripe facing the wrong way keeping me in
-side the undercement box of an elevator whirengine rising falling rising falling,
fraying spacetime, cut after cut.
“Thermodynamics is mainly concerned with the transformations of heat into mechanical work and the opposite transformations of mechanical work into heat. Only in comparatively recent times have physicists recognized that heat is a form of energy that can be changed into other forms of energy.”
states Enrico Fermi while beginning
his 1936 monograph on energy, on
transformation, on why during a Manhattan July
the campus trails (y) at Columbia will still reel in
students like firewalkers sweltering in suits where
it makes no difference (Δ) to them that qx = k(dT/dY)
qx = the rate heat conducts from
sun to stone to trouser (k) to the skin of your teeth or
qx = how quickly and how high mercury (Hg)
greets (“Hi!”) a damp kerchief (T) , Morse-code blotting of foreheads.
Scurrying across all (100 + x) streets intersecting and bisecting and my-feet-hurt-secting and
I-can’t-possibly-walk-any-further-secting but I’m full of heat, full of heat.
We are the driven, the personified gradients struggling from less to
more (call it passion or call it hot/sore feet) or by feat
alone we want to become, to come
closer just as the day becomes
closer to evening to
into something else.
// previously appeared in modified form in Isotope: A Journal of Nature & Science Writing (Utah State University)
The World’s Preeminent Geneticist Stuck on the Long Island Rail Road
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the greatest minds
and words like genomics, proteomics
gather one letter then a string
citations, handshakes, words
atop DNA tower, cardinal directions
A T G C
code-breaking flags; travel to travel through why humans cannot grasp
the genetic defects of train delays
like the electronics behind train delays
ticketing screens assemble letters:
"Connection not found. Please see an associate." inside the hundreds
self sorting, self tunneling, self going
lines grow far, grow long
protein chains of crack-of-dawn commuters cleaved
by the enzymes of coffee lines past
planetary configurations, rack after rack, of postcards revolving on a wire axis
under isothermal conditions people will not change until aspirations
change. (THEY / ME) refuse to evolve and devolve. A new species
of what it means to be better than today
assertive, snapping the newspapers with like reins,
control outcomes predict outcomes mandate outcomes,
sifting the unshifting letters of the news, prospecting for change,
forcefully panning for discovery.