Mark Wallace


            Hesitant?                  Once you’re in just
toss the goods down                         insurance covers itself
right not to pay          don’t check the second box
            final moment on the ladder
another league to move up to
desire too strong for this old-fashioned signal
            alto-sax trills                           vibraphone
contradictory version
                        480 channels of noise
this week the power                 next a need for sense
            “perhaps a little too much drift”
reference to the shadowy elements
an underpopulated L.A.?
            One morning you wake up a witness
transitional periods/nothing changing
                                               jammed second into a double feature
            limited time for actual talking
looking pale under bare flourescents
“you’re from the east you might like to walk”
                                                       simply no more
to say than the landscape
                       sitting at home, sweating it out
a spare sort of middle-class existence
on the back end                      restless is easy can you
do desperate?             good and goodbye      on a dime
            not the best time to fall asleep
                                              total devotion to the package                       
crazy or greedy it’s just as bad


Speeds up then abruptly stops
                      time to answer a bank of questions
for instance, your expression resembles
a battery of received data
tilting while it throws out conclusions
           Walked the streets of the village        all five
“I do not                    have a take on the statement”
people will continue to live here
            not so inspiring really
                        cue the talk about overcoming
molecules in the same
middle             same scene of usual invading
beasts’ year end event             usual links to starting over
            stare at the sun                       treat people like a picture
                       big plate of little tacos
the world’s on special
profound connection to the immediate
            lessons learned: the list
will not accept splitting the difference
                       Still trying to adjust to the real
the way they run it at Princeton


You could try this too if you liked
                                               the moment, feasible
            actual customers on hidden camera
did my research
and ended up just outside Tuscaloosa
                                             in a rented van
                      Canadians have a different way
                      of shouting in the tunnel
            “it’s not that you’re making me mad
            it’s that you think you’re making me mad
            that makes me mad”–Rube Waddell
                                    another cut rate
                                    end of America vision thing
haul them on down to a limiting clarity
against that rush                              the little village
one more fringe of interlocking
ways of saying what no one believes:
here the sum total of here
                        except you failed to notice
all those people never described
            (she keeps saying
                                   “kids eat for 99 cents”)
no one finished the sentence
                        distinctive sporting whoops and hollers
            they’d agree entirely elsewhere
                                   entirely elsewhere
while she walks up the balcony stairs
hey there handstand yogi of love
            I toss you bits
            that make a world
            such as we have
            there is only that to offer

            and not the big scythe





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Mark Wallace is the author and editor of more than fifteen books and chapbooks of poetry, fiction, and essays. Most recently he has published a collection of tales, Walking Dreams, and a book of poems, Felonies of Illusion.




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