karen murai
  I have this nightmare someone dresses me
in a mermaid suit and makes me work for a
living, and I blame it on Florida,
a state that makes its way through my dreams
like a rubber shark. Florida,
state of biggest intentions,
new state of swelldom, inviting us all
to jump through the window.
And then I'm dressed in pink
at a flea market where recent retirees
sell the memories they're tired of
and machine guns sit on cardboard tables
surprising us with quiet before turning
into movie stars. This is where
good ole boys fizz like a swamp,
try on hats to keep their tender brains
from swelling, and only the alligators
show any wisdom, shrinking from heat
to taste primeval mud. And then
the cities start singing, the cities
that look strangely new, as if the
sky rained cosmetics or the fountain of youth
were real--but only for steel.
And their midnights swivel inside a glass,
and their mornings cough up flags,
and the calories are in the worries
as finely tuned as submarines.
The Cubans win blondes and walk away
with the show and I have to drink
just to stay even. I have to balance
between maudlin and macabre like a
good TV script. And I have to remember
that this is all in style,
the way America is in style again--
big, smiling, and recently laundered.
back of the book
Bold Type
    Copyright © 1986 Karen Murai.