you are in the diode archives fall 2009



Oakland on Fire

Oakland is on fire because the people needed something to show them both obedience
            and mercy.
Tokyo is a slow steady burn for a master throwing pots big as the capital, a kiln of city limits
            and sky.
The road to the Haifa airport runs east with jet fuel while a dropped match
            sprints after.
Flaming tongues anoint the heads of Memorial Day parade watchers
            in Topeka.
Sick blood cells cloud a toddler’s head in Nairobi. The smoke of burnt medicine leaves
            passes the mosquito net.
Californians spit accelerants of fast-talk the way a windy brushfire gets carried
            away with itself.
In Stalingrad the statues are lava pumped through the veins
            of city streets.
In Sao Paulo they are talking flint and tinder to each other under a pile
            of dry leaves.
In Genoa the youth are tiny glimmers born each time two stones
            click together.
The tycoons who own Dubai dig spiked heels into a mountain of oily rags and clamber
            up the crags until consumed.
Chicago is a sparked kindling that goes up at nightfall. All across the city the houses
            are courteous cigarettes lighting themselves from the adjacent ends of each other. The sun
            stubs itself into the ashbin skyline. Up from the miasma a bird escapes, in a trance,
            nonstop to Phoenix.


Nonstop to Phoenix

We are the cabin cleaners.
The flights check in

rolling into their gates
and we’re standing by quiet

outside the aircraft’s still sealed door.
Before our SWAT team of janitors

gets the signal
all passengers and crew must exit the mess—

plastic wrappers
and bent Sky Malls

strewn in the aisles
often puke or soiled Pampers

ditched under the seats
a fist-class habit.

We are an hourly wage
wishing for the weather to turn

gray and ground the flights.
An Econoline van

zips us across the tarmac
between jobs,

our finished planes taking off
all around us.

The day I just up and walked
off the job

was the day I had the idea
to stowaway

on one of the big 767s
headed west.

You say it that way
“head west.”

I saw myself looking down
at the vans and laughing

until I vomited
under my stolen window seat.

The mess I’d leave
up in business class—

forget it, fuck it,
move on with my own damn life.  


Lewis Robert Colon Jr. currently attends the University of Alabama’s Program in Creative Writing. His poems and reviews have appeared recently in Columbia Poetry Review, Oklahoma Review, and Black Warrior Review Online