I run when I see the smoke
in your eyes—it’s the run
in your stocking that seems
like a nylon starting to cry.
And just when I begin to care
I’m smothered in your underwear.
On the clothesline the underwear
dances in chorus, I smoke
sitting here, trying not to care.
I can’t get up to run.
The bloody sun makes me cry.
Things aren’t what they seem.
Wind tearing open the seam
of the hillside. My underwear
is in tatters. One small cry
from the forest, a wisp of smoke
trembles where the tree line runs,
birds on high without a care.
“So long,” she says, “take care.”
“You’re more sensitive than you seem.”
What’s that mean? I want to run
out from under the face I wear.
It’s all illusion, just the smoke
of a dream, a staircase of cries.
What happened to the newsboy’s cry?
He felt as lost as a care
package. Watching the actors smoke
in noir movies, they seem
to move through lives where underwear
is abandoned. Along the sunset boulevard she runs.
I’ve forgotten how to run.
At the beach the seagulls cry,
missing their long underwear
in winter. Don’t their mothers care?
In fog the streetlamps seem
like UFOs floating in smoke
Don’t forget to smoke and run.
Let them seem to see you cry.
No underwear? No one will care.
© 2009 Phil Johnson