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   o p e n    s p a c e

--- A N D R E W   E P S T E I N


A pattern gives me heartache
the city looks like a 
smoky factory clumps 
of grayish haze
moving as lazily as similes 
thereís a bird out there
punctuating the rhythmic pangs
of someone building something
or taking it apart
 Wanna write about me
she asks in a towel-wrapper
blocks away
the swaying man
who peed on the blue legs 
of the mailbox
the other dayís bright hectic noon.
Iíve made my head
and now Iíll lie in it.

A roomful of traced faces and forms,
proof of the breach between thing and copy.
It stumbles it chops it dices
fragment-a-poem for only 
nineteen-ninety-nine
going fast.
The faceted street should threaten us more,
but its conclusive sores are disguised as abstractions.
Luck has her get a philosophical driver 
asks her as he stops did I manage to 
distract you from your day
as if that were the best 
we can do for each other
Hearing again someone say 
been there done that same old same old
makes you want to crayola the fibers of everything
Some found that disappearing 
was no longer a valid option.
Others chose the path of least existence.
A crowd vetoed everything in
sight and I slipped out.

Let sleeping songs die
not long ago we were addressed
to a positive future but vagueness 
about our coming selves came 
along and made that emotion obsolete.
Itís not raining mistakes or chances.
ďWe have ten more minutes of unreality: enjoy it.Ē
Sometimes I miss the things I surrendered
at the gate, my old charms, the
zipper on my bookbag.
The new year whipped us up
like wind on water and thatís
an image I used before
I came to dismiss images as faceless.
Your trust of the past is fresh, they could say. 
Or, your progressive pauseless phrasing
is a delicious slipknot of nerves.
While the new stores fight
to stay neck and neck with fashion,
a good space opens in
my forehead.  Thatís the way
	I press back, resist
the one-by-one theft 
of all my possessions.


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published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania's kelly writers house |