Wednesday, March 24, 2010

American Street ~ Chris Gutkind

man walking down the street
keep on walking
thank you

car turning left over there
keep turning left
and then disappear please yes very good

squirrel sitting on that branch
eating a nut
keep eating that nut

air letting me walk into you
keep letting me in
keep letting me

you group of friends talking and laughing
one of you suddenly go off
yes exactly like that

policemen watching and protecting some
sure maybe follow that guy

person playing with their dog
throwing the ball
and shouting
keep playing that way
that’s right

lights changing from green to red
don’t stop changing
first yellow and now red

cars gradually slowing down
keep doing that
and then stop thank you

old woman voting in the school
keep voting
yes you’re right the election isn’t fair
that’s just the way it goes

blue sky with a few clouds
stay blue like that
but go dark later when you should
don’t forget

house over there with nice windows
keep standing and don’t fall
you’ll be fine

plane in the sky keep flying

woman walking
but suddenly stopping to think
about your mother
keep thinking about her

tiny fly landing on me
stay there
and now no now
fly away

lemons on the tree I’m passing
turn yellow
and then drop some day

tree-tops swaying and brushed by the wind
keep swaying like that
and wind you keep brushing them
thank you

and you two
falling in love over there
with your eyes and voices stroking each other
keep falling in love
keep going

man with a gun in your car
think about using it
or imagine being shot
your choice

girl coming out of supermarket
yes go to your car
open door

engine let yourself be started
don’t resist
just go with it

cat on those stairs all curled up
stayed curled up
that’s right

music vibrating by now
slow down and push
into our heads
and out our asses
nice one

and buildings off to the side
spot me close by
and then look closer
that’s better

and people behind glass
behind computers
working in there
people making better bombs
to keep us safe
keep making them
without fear

and almost empty bar
I’m passing
later fill up with joy please

mailman putting mail through
all those nice doors
keep doing that
always do that
thank you

boy walking towards me
yes stop and tie your shoe
and now keep coming towards me
very good

leaf hanging there
oh okay
fall off now
and float to the ground
no problem

rich man across the street scared of everything
stay scared like that
no you can’t pay for it to stop

another girl coming out of supermarket
not going to a car
yes just walk home

guy over there turning left no right
sure go that way instead

dogs I told you to play
not fight
stop please

ball bouncing down the street
keep doing that
good good good

green lawns scattered
here and there
don’t worry
you’ll be together again someday

missiles going over there
what are you doing
coming back?

man wandering in a circle by those trees
keep wandering

ball suddenly back up here
yes okay
you can come back and play

politician talking on tv
with the expert
and the host
all lie and seem reasonable please
and more tomorrow

fake flamingos dressed-up like astronauts
stay dressed-up for awhile
don’t suddenly change
you’re not allowed to

nice flowers blooming and happy
keep blooming like that
but then stop in a few days
when you feel like it
or if you get tired

lady begging on the corner
keep begging I guess
yes things will mostly be like this
no there’s nothing
I can do

firemen rushing to a fire
keep rushing

family in that house eating
keep eating
and something exploding you all to pieces now
keep exploding
that’s right
that was supposed to happen

but people screaming and racing towards me
stop screaming
stop racing
now stop!

ah very good
man walking with a kind of skip
keep doing that

but you
you stop that over there
no need to hit him
why don’t you stop?

friend walking beside me
keep walking beside me
you will keep walking beside me
won’t you?

and bird falling out of the sky
stop falling now

and apple please taste like an apple again

and words doing less
go away
stop stopping me

but me walking up the street
keep walking

but me walking up the street
keep dreaming

but me walking up the street

Chris Gutkind lives in London and works as a librarian. His book, Inside to Outside, came out from Shearsman in 2006. More work can be found at poetrypf and you can hear some at poetcasting. A collaboration between him and artist Trevor Simmons is forthcoming here and from Knives Forks and Spoons Press.

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