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Eleven-Twelve P.M This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Your legs and arms a marionette doll,
limbs start to crawl through the walls and windows
without your permission, and you can't see
anybody recognizable in these wicked button smiles
all around you. You're on the stuff again,
and, looking for a pen, never do find
the time it took you to notice
your last friend the hostess
brushing her teeth, spitting
on the feet of herself in the washroom

She tries to cleanse herself for guests;
It never works.


The spots of memory; the patches close to
sewn up when string is blown
night is shown to the weaver,
desperately twisting together the pieces
of that puzzle you've never been eager
to throw away- his and your secrets diminish
after hours of questioning, you sit on them
until you fall asleep at night, hide them under
your cushions.






You hear them say,
you can't. The little engine that...couldn't
You're too small, too poor,
too dark, with ideas too big,
voice too soft, polite, but not scared, and
even
though you haven't
opened your mouth in months, for some
reason you bring yourself to shout,

"ANY TAKERS?!" on 12th street,
New York City, New York.
It's December. A Saturday.
At 11:11 A.M, the wish minute,
Among busy shoppers, fur boots, black
suits you stand on a cigarette butt
bare-foot, waiting. You're not sure
for what.




She stays 'till it rains, starved for reason.
From twelve stories up she looks about
ten and you think, with your new pink
slippers ,this chilly season's just begun, and she's
got no shoes, just feet as black as the pavement,
so nobody looks at them. They're the same as where
they step every day.


You shrug and think,
"Well, I don't really see it that way"
and wish you'd take out the really
and more than that
wish you'd said it to somebody instead
of yourself. You finish your tea and forget.


Years later, desperate, you look for fear in
the sun-stained pupils of believers,
test them- their sight-
air-punching circles around them,
logic and reason-ing them,
tricking their vision
with useless precision, while they keep
their eyes fixed on the light
and stay there

You finish your tea and forget.




The wet has soaked through your shirt
now, your father's, and you finally
look back for the first time-
intact, surprisingly, no help from
the dogs and the threats and the rain.
It's all rain, really- nothing can get
completely inside, making you cold and
building immunity.
Your intuit, see,
got you this far, so you still
listen.
You spot the hand of someone
like you- soft, leaned-on and
virtue-less in complexion (or so they see it). You wave
back, casting shadows on the ground at
the muffled sound of your movement. By now
you're supposed to be asleep in your bed.

Every ripple you create, your daddy said,
like salt mirrors in the ocean-
deep and vast in its mass
lost in it's bearings, it's reflection keeping tabs
Forever. Never
forgetting, just growing from past images
"It has not found its direction" He coughed,
"but
we can"


You nod with not just your head, but your body
as you feel free, jumping, singing approval
to the ants, swimming in
their landscape far-fetched
and mountainous, the rocks and mud,
you both discover, are pebbles under
your feet. They hurt for a moment,
because you let them.





You tell him, it'll be
alright. His skin is so white,
he's barely there. Like an old toy left
under the bed in the dark. You offer him everything
that you have- and then yourself, but
he doesn't take the bait
and instead,
like he said he wanted,
floats to the top of the sea (he never did
believe in gravity, in that
low place. He was always high)
You hope he stays up there with all the
people he didn't agree with.You pray
he prayed, at least once, and scare
yourself into doing the same. But
you don't have words to stay to
The Guy, just stare at your
friend's note and cry.

You sip your tea and remember

not finishing it this time.



The girl is back again, on the corner,
facing her demons, the city-slickers
(you, essentially, but you tell yourself
you're different. You tell yourself YOU listen,
but then realize you have never heard her voice)
Still in your light slippers you
take the elevator and push the glass,
ignoring the doorman
the same color as her, and he's waving
(not at you. He's supposed to, but you keep moving)





A woman is running toward you at full speed,
Bright pink slippers falling off in the street,
She doesn't look both ways like your mama
always taught you, and a yellow taxi
near clubs her paleness under the clear, blue sky
of a Sunday. You wonder why she's not at church, it's
the morning and you would be there, if you weren't
here. But you don't have an explanation for yourself
either so you don't judge, just watch this crazy or
magnificent lady, with curlers in her hair
She stands and stares, "Like an idiot"
you'd whisper, if someone
had been there with you. Now it's
just her. She grabs your shoulders
and you pull back, forgetting what you'd been
pleading on this oddly sunny street, meaning
to tell her,
her shirt is on backwards.


You laugh about this afterwards,
when she calls herself Julie. Making real
tea, she talks of a friend who met his end
On the same street, asks you to be careful.
You stare,
The usual wrinkle in your forehead diminishing
while she's finishing her drink. She hands you
her shoes with a wink, you see her
Naked pink toes and listen to psalms
In your head.

She closes her palms to the world,
and you do too.

Life creates life creates life,
takes away it's own life-What does that
teach us? You can't jump off thoughtless lust
for an ending, relief. You'd be a thief to
humanity.

So do you choose ignorance and bliss,
a shiny warm world without spots
or truth, liberation, condensation on your forehead
every so often, because it helps in the end-
cools you down. Brings you back to the ground
to the ants, the loud feet of the
girl otherwise seen all her life
in-between invisible, and a
tool for the others (non-"coloreds")


Looking at the holes in humanity,
they sink back suddenly, two women wearing
black and pink and white and brown printed
on their skin,
palms outstretched in the wind
to each other, and discover
(patiently)
There's still a lot more of the sun to catch
other hands to connect
with. They wait at the bus
stop, 11:12 P.M, still
waiting.





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