Toothpaste Kids Sunburn

Jordan Davis
I tell you I will not make any more raids,
The elusive going-elsewhere motherboard 

An electrical sound marking stretches 
Afternoon is carving into the wood of us,

That's our modern way of saline allegory—
To make gods of times of day. I won't 

Cooperate with this love that steals itself 
Into a brand name, preferring to abandon 

Like feathers or a rocket stage the moves 
Traffic up till now couldn't touch. That's me,

That warm breath dying on the neck,
The only chain they couldn't save in the fire 

Everybody but the Buddha called  
A day at the beach.

More by Jordan Davis

A Boat

When I am sitting at my desk and I have feelings
It is like I am the lone passenger in a little boat
On a sunny windy day.  When we are lying down
And we have good feelings it is a speedboat skipping
Like a stone among the islands I feel we’re in.
When we are sitting in bed at five a.m. talking the light
On I don’t feel so good I feel like we’re on a ferry
For another six hours going back and up and forth
And down.  At least it’s a boat.  When I sit and talk to girls
Someplace I feel like I’m in a maritime museum.
When we walk together to the pool or park it’s like
I’m rowing you across to Banff, and when I
Take you in a car to your mother’s house, the Bay of Fundy.
At work the coast guard, walking there the merchant 
Marine, me in my pea coat.

Hero and Leander

Yet in that silver age
A pale boy
The sea god’s love
Came toward a fine and flashing
Monotony; and steam came
From him as from a mechanism
And he came to disregard
The magnetic seasons
As teachers hurry under a tent the heat
Coming toward him even as
He sinks himself further
As if to please again the boring god
It is he! O Leander
Do you come back now,
Or are you just running from
Some sunny girl, for he could see
Now no storm pulling
The waves up to be clipped
As a barber will hold a lock
Then let it fall back shorter
And if no storm then what?
No, hello, I’m just ducking
The waves, we have the day
From school and some went down
To ship but the sun
Was so pestering
I couldn’t think to be on decks
And all this talk the god
Had become the water talking
And looked at his body
Skinny as a flame in smoke
And was around it true as a level
But Leander felt funny and said
I think I hear the motor
I better go and the sea god
Back again to swimming thing thought
Why am I so humble always with this
Slipping thing I’m not a forcing god
Thank goodness think of the menace
To these seas a brake of salt ice
Would be
			On the surface
Leander bobbed a true diver
Tearing in the sun and saw
On shore peeling a giant orange
A girl standing looking out at
The great difference of the waves
Burning in the breakers saw her look
As three black lines on his brow and he
Forgetting the sea-god
Did tricks in the shallows
Which the girl, closer not a girl!
A woman sad and now
Not annoyed not amused
Leander, seeing, dripping as he came
Onto rocky land said May I
Have a piece of that
It was pomegranate and she
Smiled red and said
Here and he was in intense pain
And could not move and she, hearing
They had gathered all the mallows
They wanted for the recital,
Said goodbye and turned away.
I cannot move he said vaguely
Through burning lock of muscle
In his back but she was gone
On a school bus of students
Playing games of prophecy
With paper. O Leander
Came a voice. Leander you will
Burn out there!

With My Back to City Hall, On Yom Kippur

The gnats love the highway dividers, 
the freelance pickup artists love the softness of the hands 
of the women who love their friends
for walking with them laughing at the situation, 
lost people love that I am sitting here looking likely to know, 
I love it when I know, knowledge in the form of radar 
loves the cloud cover which resembles my headache 
in its topography and its effect on my mood, 
the path which connects Park Row with Broadway
loves the paranoia which has closed off all the paths closer than this to City Hall, 
Jesus loves the balding man in the striped windbreaker
who looks at my small script and remarks, "Jesus loves you,"
I love the silk suit and the hard candy curl hair
of the middle-aged black woman going by with her dry cleaning, 
I love the sock the bundled baby recumbent in an Aprica stroller kicks out, 
I love from a distance the speck this woman in the tight clothes 
reaches to brush from her shoe, I love the effect it has on her distraction, I love 
the ties tucked into the short sleeve shirts of the men returning from lunch, 
I love the men and women my age strolling
with purpose in their Pumas, the feather tumbling by, 
the drift of the hulking red haired woman with psoriatic elbows, 
the opal in the hairbow of the Hindi woman in white robes 
and the tuck of her husband's shirt into his jeans, 
the ticking of the wheel of the bicycle rolled along 
by a backpack-wearing man on foot, 
the acceleration of an open-roof double-decker tour bus, 
the ignition cough of the not-in-service kneeling bus, 
the change clod and leaf-shuffle of the lower torsos 
and the carry-out conveyor sound of a closed up shopping cart, 
I love the downturned glance of the woman carrying the Borzoi College Reader
    crossing against the light and going into Pace,

may all these people have rent-stabilized leases, 
and may they be registered to vote, in their unions, 
and in the next election.