Lunch Poems

All This Debris Is Starting to Clog the System

A poem for when missing someone makes the soles of your feet hurt.

the way diesel exhaust
           clings to leaves,
and drunks in the bleachers
           throw D batteries
           onto the field.
Meanwhile, we get zapped
           by lasers for lack
           of altitude on days
I miss you
           so bad the soles
           of my feet hurt.
I love the hobbled
           and the speed racers too.
In between
           is the feedlot’s maze where
           real estate gets sold
amid miles of unspooled
           garden hoses siphoning
           gas from the refinery
to thirsty bulldozers,
to a row of encroaching
           storm clouds forming
           heaven’s breadline,
to pregnancy
           during a recession.
It’s timber time
           across the valley
right when the trees
           are in bloom—
good for combing bee hair;
bad for asthma
           or getting heatstroke
           while wearing a bunny suit.
We flush the kidneys
           clean of their sugar,
then lie and describe it
           as a dry sneeze
           for the camera in authority’s
           broadcast booth.

Alan Gilbert is the author of a book of poems, Late in the Antenna Fields (Futurepoem, 2011), and a collection of essays and articles entitled Another Future: Poetry and Art in a Postmodern Twilight (Wesleyan University Press, 2006). He lives in Brooklyn. More by Alan Gilbert