On CR-4 in Michigan
the goddamn of music
was going on.
The dancer came out
dangling money carelessly.
She looked at our faces
as if they were small tips.
Christ she was beautiful
when she danced out of her clothes.
All her bones floating in milk.
Sweetheart, the others called her.
Honey. Doll. For each of them
she smiled. I envied how
she let the backs of her hands linger
at the very top of her thigh.
When she finally came to me,
I stuck a dollar bill
where my eyes had been.
Her face had the alert sleepiness
of a cat’s. she smiled
vacantly, moved on to he next dollar.
I drifted into the night air.
The lights on my rig pushed
the dark aside, moved me
towards no house, towards no one waiting.
The Hamtramck Hotel
shrinks in a desert of parking meters.
And WE NEVER CLOSE pops and blinks like a wounded eye.
And the buckled sidewalk a blood and beer stained belt
of accordion keys. And the prostitutes whistle their one note,
lips thick donuts strawberry glazed.
And the cars lay for years like stunned animals.
And the manager’s voice tumbles like dice.
And all the rooms are dark, candle stubs
gasping on the tables. And the walls are stripping
down their paint. And the plumbing has hot flashes.
And Joe’s biceps are two pigs wrestling
in a sack. And he belts the punching bag,
fists backfiring like pistons, an engine running down.
And thin walls separate lives.
And you hold back air, clutch your own fists
and wait to hear it—whatever woman moaning
low, the dull thud of the beating.
And you are glad your friends have stopped visiting.
And you turn up the radio
and hold onto the notes, a man diving
from a burning tenement holding to a mattress.
And you sleep between the station breaks.
And a rolling curtain of freight cars blocks out the river.
And the moon climbs
as the stars drip steadily into the streets.