t o n y    m a n c u s

And in the end even the end's the same

                                                                           there will be no dancing

                                                                           Dorothy Lasky

when in the fits of clothes shopping, make sure your measurements
            are equal to your age divided by the prime
            number nearest your birth
                        and the floor will become a dandy thing strewn with light and mittens

when you hold the mirror up ask your face what you
            think you should know then quest for half
            a lifetime to find what you thought
            you needed was only the form of the quest
            filled out to the last page and initialed
or someone else's hints about things other people
            thought before in caves and curtains
            and drew accordingly or kept on hold
            for long enough that it seemed fashionable
            that you peruse them and fashion
            itself a broadened light
or quite possibly you are a better human
            being than I am and willing
            to quiet all the rules
                        and the border of the mirror is a thing to look beyond, the things a body sings

when in the winter, make the fires like you know your job
            is not to be cold
                        and the body stings, the body

when you are unable to reach your Chicago
            colleagues because of a city fire phased
            evacuation procedure, don't look to the phone for answers
            it is an exercise I will notify you when
            they have returned
                        and the building is a popular place to hang your life-suit up for houses and for hours

when you hold the bored and appled curve
            of the globe, not the former department
            store gutted in the crumb and bumble
            of Scranton, PA but the remnant switch
            of what our world spits            out—
            info wards of noise and space in numbers
                        and the populace is flaunted like a base of ditzy clouds

when interred in the galloping prattle
            of songstreams and informative images
            of warring remnants, an economic chest
            wound in the shape of air ported and pure,
            the wings a subtle nod to lingua
            blank the bodice and 10,000 things flailing,
or when the womp and struggle have scrapped
            your husks, you lid-heavy and thoughtful sleeper,
            the pain of life no different now from when
            all creatures simplified by want were years
            and years removed from us
                        and now is flourishes of flush and gutter—the afterparty spilled of drink, the drink itself

when the beer's tentacled, the cock's crowing the labels
            frayed from excessive pulling at corners
            the corner's jumpable all up and down
            the blocks both city and wooden, your hand
            is sore from losing teeth or touch with
            itself or some other hand it had grown
            fond of feeling
                        and thin are the spaces between here, and here wearing skin enough


TONY MANCUS is the author of four chapbooks, most recently Bye Sea (Tree Light Books) and Again(st) Membering (coming out in fall from Horse Less Press). In 2008, he co-founded Flying Guillotine Press with Sommer Browning and they continue to make chapbooks. He currently works as a technical writer and lives with his wife Shannon and two yappy cats in Arlington, VA.

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