This Poem Is Written in Code

Saturday, January 28, 2012

by Todd Colby and Joanna Penn Cooper

I'll sit at my desk eating tangerines until you remember 
the true meaning. Meaning: I've had it with low blows
& pop wagons. I need a county I can call "My Own."  But I'll
write things down from there to tell you later, a selection
of my private behaviors.  Me studying cheerleaders on tv—
their hair, their leaps, the shutters on their eyes.  Me
smoothing my hair down like a Mormon and giving myself 
a secret handshake. My ocean is a crushed bird. Let me sterilize
a bit and handcraft these wing clips with all the razzle dazzle of
a person who has made friends with death.  Death is a man
with the loveliest face, a face as open as a child's.  He smells 
of lavender.  He wears a fez. Damn, burnt from bitter orange tweed 
jacket set aflame with alcohol and matches. He taught me this:  
Whatever you need, whenever you need it, come into my establishment 
and take it. I would like nothing more than to sail straight for that grip. 
Pumping my fist at the skin on the oar. Your head is bleeding.  
I value your patronage. 

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