You know most of this already.

In the car with them, sitting in the back seat with her up front passenger-wise and turned back to me the two of us and talking fast like always like she had something to sell that she knew we hadn’t the cash or care to buy and the rain pelted the windshield and the wipers swung right back and the dark was outside full of unfocused and flickering points of light, streetlamps and headlights and incidental bokeh, while some vague figure in shadow form all the while drove us on.

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Richard Byrd was a person and he said “no man can hope to be completely free who lingers within reach of familiar habits” and I remember seeing the dark brown-bronze statue of him in his bear suit and loyal dog companion in its dog suit down beside its great master’s leg in the old public library in one of the towns I grew up in, the one he was from, in fact, and I wondered, amazed as a child should be, about the things before that idealized gaze, majestic and impotent,

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fall in two

Ah, what good does it do. Could mine meaning from every last phrase but sometimes it just fills space.

I told you that and you said you like the way(s) I talk and I heard the parentheses. We sat on the big brass bed in the old white house on the hill where so many of my dreams seem set, recurring stage, varying scenes, and I talked about kissing you and you moved closer on instinct, still sitting up, us both.

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There’s a hole in my chest
where the truth’s supposed
to be. There’s a hole in my
head where this creation’s
supposed to be. I’ll pour
everything in, I wonder,
filling it, suppose, and what
will be left. What will, answered,
but French-braided ambiguity.

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Is this your girlfriend? The guy at the next table asked me loudly in one of those booming broadcast voices, pointing at her, as if she couldn’t answer for herself and was some kind of stranger even though she was clearly sitting with them, clearly sitting and smiling, and clearly smiling at me when I looked at her not so clearly like he’d asked me to identify a set of keys he’d found on the floor. She had blondish hair, soft features, a sweet smile with slightly too-big front teeth, and classic curves, I remember thinking, odd thought, thought it just like that, classic curves, and I was pretty sure she wasn’t mine, but she did look like a girl I saw in a dream one time so I took the bait and told him so.

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The Cadillac got broken into and ended up in an auction. Just filled the tank that day. $39.67. Thought that was a lot but then thought one day it’ll seem dated, just an arbitrary side-marker of the times. Went there—to the auction—saw her, of all people, just said hello, and tried to get the car back but couldn’t provide documentation. Guy wouldn’t let me have it. Laughed at me for insisting it was mine. Thought: word counts for nothing. Been trying to get away from there though anyway, out of town, as usual.

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skinny girl

Silently crying on the morning train she was, all arms and legs and despair half-heaped and sliding like a pile of melting Dalí clocks over the blue vinyl seat-back beside her and I thought she might finally pour off onto the floor in a puddle of person if not for that crooked arm all crooked for cupping her buried face, crooked and hooked and holding her in place, I saw, snagged as if on a broken branch like the one that cut the inside of my thigh when I was seven, it seemed, and I wondered if I should do the thing and go unhook her.

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