by Nick Thran
with Frank Ramos
She left her child alone in her crib, to dry up like soil
in a summer drought, while she slaked her thirst for salsa dancing.
Justice David Watt
A dancer too obviously "slaking a thirst"
is not dancing the salsa
correctly. This is standard tempo;
four quarter notes, one-hundred-sixty beats
per minute. The over eager often waver
between melody and rhythm.
They tend to forget we dance this largely
with our feet barely leaving the ground.
Too many turns in succession in a single direction
will make you dizzy. Hip movement stems
from proper leg-work. The faster the beat,
and it's picking up now, the smaller our steps should be.
No forced movements. Upper
body rocking. Whiplash. Mirror
my movements. We'll start with the "backwards basic."
Tense arms, pressure between us. "Drought"
is a prolonged dearth or shortage,
abnormally low rainfall.
We call fancy footwork "shines."
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We leave the windows open a crack, recline
inside the Yukon.
Can't crank the AC, cause we'll need the battery burn time
for the long drive out of camp. Land here is soft. A few
plots left to plant. Off-days, we sit here stoned with a mix-tape,
the choice cuts of Kid A and Amnesiac, and slap
that have snuck in through the slits. Dead ones go on the dash,
and the ones with a little fight left in them squirm
in the cup-holder. We're all pretty fucking exhausted.
Day nineteen in camp. Our dreams mechanical-three steps
spike pull plant the root down even
our downtime is staked to the dirt.
Great big holes in the mess tent tarp mark where
black bears have made their daily run
at what passes here for food. Two quick blasts
in the air with the shotgun send them running,
if the dogs don't get there first.
Chef's got to be thinking one day just leash them
a blind-eye, let them tear a hole big enough to enter
and ravage the insides, just to see what an elaborate mess
a mess tent could be. A point comes each day of
alone on my plot where I want to throw down
my gear, turn belly-up towards some backwoods vista
and let my shoulder blades dig through the soil.
But there are days here I make three-hundred dollars.
Days where a debt free and unmapped August hums
in my bones as though I'm still sucking blood from the boy I was
at the turn off near Chetwynd; all revved engine and rattling
through town. Unsure how I would handle the iso',
of where my mind would go that far
down the back-roads, the clear-cuts- bites
swelling up, muscles burning, and could I trust my body
enough to rise up each day for me, and give itself
back to the earth?
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That Lobster Has Been There Forever
I draft choral arrangements for tectonic plates.
I'd forgot to mention a few important
points: I was there at the grave-site
but did not bring my shovel,
I've never wept in a 20th century
building for anything other
than my own lost loves and friends.
Please, don't tell the architects.
Stones groan like a stomach ache
when they move. Bones tick
like clock-hands when
you tap them with a blade.
I think I'll split a pomegranate
and display the halves like dentist x-rays
to a patient star-filled night.
I think I'll diagnose the earth
with an affliction it has learned to cope with-
When I say, I will never forgive you for letting
it come to this, you don't speak.
You already know.
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