Steffi Drewes

ON A GOOD DAY YOU CAN SEE THE CITY FROM HERE

 

Suppose there is an empty floor that fills the fourth story of this story, a giant dusty lung that looms overhead and laps up the days, attracting sun from all angles. Suppose I nab that pair of skates from a donation bag and wheel around the pipeline tree trunks instead of returning important calls. Suppose we take pictures of the shadows and dust motes to document our questions, to solidify our sense of apathy and inner wilderness. Suppose the cats come trailing the spirits of the city in their trigger tails and jackknife jaws and we feed them with our fingertips until our breath becomes slow. Suppose we use the carcasses of dead bugs to spell out WAIT FOR ME or SO FAR FROM HOME. Suppose the man across the hall decides today is the day to jump. Suppose he tries and fails. Suppose circling something perpendicular is just another way to imagine progress. Suppose never is not an option on the survey and no one is waiting at the other end of the line, the lake, the lopsided stitch of want. Suppose prolonged and unexplained headaches are a sign of significant brain growth and creativity. Suppose there’s no point in listening unless you’re willing to break the body’s expectation of who goes there. Suppose the next woman to come through the door calls you a cunt. Suppose the man after that knows he is dying and dying quickly but never raises his voice. Suppose the moon, even after all these years, despite its renowned depth of character, is simply a liar in lamplight’s clothing.

 
 

BETWEEN THE LAKE AND THE LOOK OF THE EYES

 

Sometimes it starts with the urge to teach others about the moon but we can’t summon enough details. Except for the lakes and the look of the eyes. Since when did I forget the names for craters, allow my peepers to become wormholes? Maybe someone is wanting to land on my surface as we speak. Especially given my steady night gaze and alluring head tilt.

Nightmaking is an artifice but nobody can hear you through the holes of night’s steady hum. People paint a retreating desert or blue static when what they really see is somebody banging on the wall. So many walls and white spaces balancing work that needs to wham louder.

Since when did night become angry for not winning? Am I a winner? What does that even mean? So what if we’re just pretending. We meant to call our own bluff, call it birth of pretty hammers or throatsong and lecture or stacks of paper rockets drumming beats and pirouettes. Did you make it to that artist talk the day before the bridge collapse? Get a hold of yourself, the microphone man might say. But how? you whimper. I am already holding on so tight sometimes I can’t breathe.

Remember the ocean, but keep dreaming of lakes. There might be more to that equation. You who are becoming your fullest architecture as we sit and listen to the radio. Not swimmingly exactly, but being fed by bigger and bigger calamity.

You spend the night trying to remember every conversation you ever had with anyone who mattered. This feels like a test. The lights dim. Familiars whir and squeak as the projector unwinds and a light bulb explodes. Blink if you can hear me. This is only a test.

 
 

LIFT UP YOUR SKIRT AND SHOW ME YOUR TAXES

 
the arch of a bridge the underside of your fare-thee-well
your foot approaching crossroads [insert historical fact here]
forget to plug in the sound and the news feels different
insert your finger             select a circuit of skin
his is real math we’re made to learn
i can count to Haiti Haifa Herzegovina with my eyes
closed                                    too much dark matter
it’s growing more and more important
to learn how to read upside down
practice leaving the surface of earth just a matter of
meditation and more wingspan
she said something about a birdless winter
or weathervanes
things are getting complicated at the drop of
a soft spit bubble             face up and surveying the sun
say my misfit like you mean it my only blinding light
foreground the blindspots of your own
occasional dark stair                        read: dark star
on the occasion of who forgot to call
on the off-chance the mister isn’t screening this message
give us your best green hour
we can cover this virtual hotspot together
we can write to disappear go ahead and get paid for it
sandwiched between the streetlight and big daddy’s war fixture
make “go” and “if” your first true characters
I push if up against a wall and go plants a hard kiss 
 
 

CONVERSATIONS TO KILL TIME

 
said it’s just a piece of cake dropped in the bucket didn’t fall far from the same           boat

said bite yr tongue child words fall thicker than blood is thicker than bubbly water

said break a leg or buy a lemon just don’t cry over spilled wolf

said come hell or high as a kite barking up the wrong sky

said that dark horse is a dead ringer for biting off more than flies can chew

said don’t count yr chickens in the dog days of summer

said excuse my French but it’s down to the kitchen sink against the clock

said a feeding frenzy could ensue at the drop of a flash in the pan

said flea market born flesh and blood bygones just flippin’ the bird

said fools’ gold from rags to fever pitches

said getting up on the wrong side of brass tacks

said go out on a limb an extra mile or go home

said got a gut feeling axe to grind head over heels no bones about it

said hocus pocus hold yr horses idle hands are the devil’s icing

said even if you learn the ropes just knock on wood to kick the bucket

said best to let sleeping dogs level the playing field

said to make a long story short tie a knot in the whole nine yards of the last straw

said loose cannon like a chicken with its head gone haywire

said never bite the mumbo jumbo that feeds you

said no room to swing a new york minute in this nest egg

said off the record peeping toms on the fence tend to pass the buck out of the           blue

said to steal someone’s thunder turn a blind eye tongue and cheek

said take a raincheck rule of thumb is pull the plug on the baby and bath water

said the scapegoat is looking sick as a dog must’ve smelled a rat-a-tat-tat

said son of a gun the ball is in your courtship gone overboard

said the best of both worlds the harder they fall

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