Visible Cities

Visible Cities

by Brad Liening

 

It’s a restless feeling

living in this little city.

 

It’s like working

a lavish dinner party

 

slash philanthropic

social function

 

and you’re weaving

through the crowd

 

in your white tuxedo

carrying a silver tray

 

of vodka gimlets

resting on a towel

 

draped over your arm

and underneath the tray

 

of brimming gimlets

and the towel

 

you’re holding a gun

and you’re waiting

 

for just the right moment

for your life,

 

your real one,

to begin

 

#

 

The dogcatcher

races into the room

 

and dives out

the window

 

followed by

a pack of dogs.

 

Economic ruin

births a dozen

 

Professor Emeriti

who gather

 

in the quad

like pale flowers.

 

#

 

A plane banks

into the sky’s

 

glowing coals,

the first

 

of a dozen

vanishing planes.

 

The street

far below

 

doesn’t change.

It crawls along

 

sinking deeper

into itself.

 

It hums songs

from the war.

 

It leads to

a water park.

 

#

 

The Museum

of Cowboys and Indians

 

is sponsored

by Coca-Cola.

 

It’s the Coca-Cola

Museum of Cowboys

 

and Indians and

it’s the site

 

of many first dates.

My grandparents

 

met there, in fact.

He was a weathered

 

Cowboy and she

a shy Indian princess.

 

Last week a bus

crashed into

 

the Museum.

There’s worried

 

talk about the death

of romance.

 

#

 

The Dean

at the University

 

is really drunk.

(She stashes

 

small bottles of rum

in her desk.)

 

She makes some decisions.

She thinks the pink hotel

 

is just a mirage.

She looks deep within

 

her porcupine heart.

There’s a cloud in there.

 

#

 

Sailing off,

the city receding

 

like a shoestring

that played

 

a small part

in a plot

 

on your life,

we drink in

 

the ocean spray

like it was champagne

 

and we were

champagne-drinkers.

 

In fact I have

no idea what

 

champagne tastes like

or how it’s made

 

or its correct

pronunciation

 

but I think

it’s like a door-

 

knob to a

dark cave.

 

#

 

Another dinosaur

flies by my window.

 

It’s my job

to stop them.

 

But secretly

I don’t want to.

 

Yesterday

the mayor

 

was caught up

and crushed

 

in a stampede

of herbivores.

 

His dark blood

ran through

 

the streets and

down the storm drains.

 

It’s hard to know

how to feel now

 

that we’re finally

on our own.

 


Brad Liening lives in Minneapolis, MN, and at bradliening.blogspot.com. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Faded Out, Mannequin Haus, Nokturno, and elsewhere.

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