The horses sleep in luxury stalls.
We roll past subdivided mansions and loud domestic cars
while a man in a nightshirt whispers “dope”
to the swaying foam of his plastic cup.
Gaslights flick and buzz. On the reddish frieze,
the boxer’s cracked coconut face leaks.
Me neat, you rocks, we skim a flotsam
of bow ties, broad-brims, tattoos, and chains.
You start in about Welles, whose stolen fire
revives art by news of its own death.
I saw Citizen Kane propped up on pillows
in a school library tragically smeared with primary colors.
The opera box slow-clap made my balls retract.
But now the scene’s a joke on repeat,
just like us, arguing about aura, ordering another round
of Irish, flanked by flat Ionic columns
Triumph means killing what you love.
Feet free of the stool, I spin like a sulking kid
in an office chair, and from a mass
hunched over icons in the neon gloom, she stands erect
in fire-engine red. There’s a beer commercial now,
then one for decorating dirt with shiny trucks.
She tugs it down, the mini-dress,
but with each tug the other side climbs up,
toward the carmine cataract poured down her back.
Faces whirl as she discerns the shine of colliding bodies.
You’re on to Chimes at Midnight now, the purity of Falstaff’s heart.
I reach for the smooth ground of your delicate shoulder
—early one New Year’s, smoking on a frozen porch,
city of millions silent under purple snow, your borrowed parka barely fit—
but you only lift a glass and say, “I shall be sent for soon.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
V. Joshua Adams teaches literature and writing at the University of Louisville. His chapbook, Cold Affections, was recently published by Plan B Press. For more information, visit his website.
[ The photograph (1941) of Orson Welles and Dolores del Rio is in the public domain. ]