Come City, December Dream


Here where balloons filled with hydrogen make bullets bombs,
            here where killer bees change course for one suburban Mexico home,
here where pens are inkless on arrival,
            yes took the words right out of my brain,
here where strangers aren't just strange but overzealous lovers,
           here where I could've sworn I checked the weather on my way out,
here where a bee lands on a wounded hand as the hand designs a rhyme,
           a line that coincidentally mentions killer bees,
here where those who died in the tunnels built the mantle to the mesosphere,
           an emergency staircase and an elevator for joggers,
machinery buzzes inside a cloud above John Henry's etched path,
           bored from ear to ear so he could fall down dead in sight of afternoon's star.
Here where we stare into an esophagus,
           the only way home from Downtown Dream City,
we pace in place—then descend, as a fool would risk nothing.
           I suppose I can stay a day or two more—
if I don't pilgrim this holy island at least once a week,
           I suppose I might compel myself to fall down dead.


Was the tussocker’s toss triumphant or vengeful?
           This the ambivalent poet must choose so I’ll stick with triumphant.
To preach that men could not invent a tool of death,
           leastways not without extraterrestrial knowledge,
is nothing short of inflammatory and credit-misplacing.
           Of these some men still learn the harp,
some brandish eyepatches, corncob pipes.
           Nerve gas is an earth thing and it takes one to know one.
I find myself grounded in a memorable situation:
           writing about earth near a defecating corgi.
Cute is contingent on a seer's priorities.
           I conceive a thigh tattoo of a crucified Kermit—
research determines my idea clichéd.
           Then Falkor the luckdragon etched into my penis—
if Heaven forbid my backup’s no good,
           I suppose I might commission a bullseye to the chest.
The swagman triumphant in coveralls hurls two more armfuls of hoagie debris,
           scatters yuppie pigeons with a smidgen of vengeful—was I wrong?
I don't make the rules, I'm just their paid slave:
           Come December Dream City will see me in chains.

AJ Urquidi hails from Monterey, California, and he received his BA in Creative Writing from UCLA. AJ is currently earning his MFA from CSU Long Beach after studying poetry in NYC. His poems have appeared in WestwindautolycusCIRCLEL.A. Telephone Book Vol. 2, and his book, The Patterned Fragment.