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The Flâneur Tends a Well-Liked Summer Cocktail

ISSUE:  Fall 2016

curbside on an Arp-like table. He’s alone
of course, in the arts district as it were, legs folded, 
swaying a foot so that his body seems to summon 
some deep immensity from all that surrounds: 
dusk shadows inching near a late-thirtyish couple debating 
the post-galactic abyss of sex with strangers, 
tourists ambling by only to disappear into the street’s gloomy mouth, 
a young Italian woman bending to retrieve 
a dropped MetroCard, its black magnetic strip facing up, 
a lone speckled brown pigeon breaking from a flock of rock 
doves, then landing near a crushed fast-food wrapper 
newly tossed by a bike messenger, the man chortling 
after a sip of flaxen-colored beer, remembering
that, in the Gospel of John the body and glory converge 
linked to incarnation and so, perhaps, we manifest each other, 
a tiny shower of sparks erupting from the knife sharpener’s 
truck who daily leans a blade into stone, a cloudscape reflected 
in the rear windshield of a halted taxi where inside 
a trans woman applies auburn lipstick, the warlike 
insignia on the lapel jacket of a white-gloved 
doorman who opening a glass door gets a whiff 
of a dowager’s thick perfume and recalls baling timothy 
hay as a boy in Albania, the woman distractedly watching 
a mother debate Robert Colescott’s lurid appropriations 
of modernist art over niçoise salad, suddenly frees her left breast 
from its cup where awaits the blossoming mouth of an infant 
wildly reaching for a galaxy of milk behind her dark areola, 
the sharp coughs of a student carrying a yoga mat, 
the day’s last light edging high-rises on the west side
so that they seem rimmed by fire just when the man says, And yet, 
immense the wages we pay boarding the great carousel of flesh.


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