Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Act Nonchalant

Act Nonchalant

When a cop stops next to me
at a red light. When I encounter
a stranger in the hall,
on the way to the trash chute.
Before the blood pressure cuff
grips my bicep and then again,
while it tightens and I imagine
my arm down the throat of a snake.
When returning the rental car,
with or without a scratch.
While the suitcase gets weighed
at the airport. With my fingers
pressed onto the glass, to leave
an image of my fingerprints,
no ink. With the car door biting
down on my pinky. With the wasps
nipping at my arms.


  1. The blood pressure check linked to the throat of a snake is my favorite. And it, especially, sets up the the turn to the sinister at the end.

    Acting nonchalant--for what it's worth, I think of Prufrock's "prepare face to meet the faces that we meet." They're not identical, but for me they're in the same arena.

  2. Bravo for explaining that. The innermost part of my brain thanks you.

  3. I like this, especially in tandem with the De Chirico-meets-Hopper painting.

    I can relate to these stressful moments but I have to say my occasions for acting nonchalant are a little more extreme, like when a cop finds me naked in a public park, or when I return a rental car totaled, or when I'm late to have my blood pressure taken because my car stalled out on the highway, or when dope-sniffing dogs rifle through my suitcase at the Montego Bay airport, or when I dig up a bed of wasps and they fly at me like dead fishies to the light ...

  4. If only acting and being were more closely built...

  5. I like the relationship between title and poem here.


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