Enchantée, says the key in my hand.
When I try to turn it, it turns to sand.
Time is an upgrade, says the front desk.
Reserved for our most valued guests.
Time is an anemone, says the new hire.
Enemy. Amenity. Profanity. Dire.
Whatever you’ve forgotten,
they provide. Loved one,
plot line, pack of minutes?
Glass eyes, false teeth, all sleep is gratis.
we look in our hotel linens.
Turns out my inner clown is full of hope.
She wants a gavel.
She wants to stencil her name on a wooden gavel:
Clowns are clichés and they aren't afraid of clichés.
Mine just sleeps when she's tired.
But she can't shake the hopes.
She's got a bad case of it, something congenital perhaps.
Maybe it was sexually transmitted,
something to do with oxytocin or contractions or nipple stimulation,
maybe that's it, a little goes a long way.
Hope is also the name of a bakery in Queens.
And there's a lake in Ohio called Hope Lake where you can get nachos.
I'm so stuffed with it the comedians in the Cellar never call on me,
even when I'm sitting right there in the front row with a dumb look of hope on my face.
Look at these books: hope.
Look at this face: hope.
When I was young I studied with Richard Rorty, that was lucky,
I stared out the window and couldn't understand a word he said,
he drew a long flat line after the C he gave me,
the class was called metaphysics and epistemology,
that's eleven syllables, that's
hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope.
Just before he died, Rorty said his sense of the holy was bound up with the hope
that some day our remote descendants will live in a global civilization
in which love is pretty much the only law.
Floating above the gynecologist's hands,
Dolor looks down at me
with her many expressions.
Someone sketched the eyes, the mouths,
someone pinned them up,
arranged the faces
so they softly say, like this? like this?
The doctor says to choose one,
but I'm no fool, I close my eyes
and the speculum is blind and cool,
widened and distracting.
Like the Chikyū vessel drilling
downhole from the ocean floor
into the untouched mantle,
it shows we're scarred inside
by what years and use and trespass do.
Every day the women open their eyes
and follow me into the streets,
the cities, like a wind murmur begins
a rumor of waves, the faces of earth
saying let this pain be error upon me writ.
What do you need? the Quiet Man asked
when I knocked again at his door.
What do you want?
He was closing up.
I don’t know, I said.
Woolf, Anbesol, Baldwin, Keats,
I’ll take anything.
I knew sometimes he slept right there in his shop,
with blankets on the bottom shelf,
history above, Bulletin
of the Atomic Scientists to the left.
Papers littered his desk
and the floor where we lay our heads,
letting the pure products of the shapely mind
inform the equally combustible body.
Who is it who says the closer you are
to an irreversible apocalypse the more fragile
We slid the dictionaries from the shelves
and opened them to apocalypse,
the word on everyone’s lips.
As if we could ever bid these joys farewell.