Boulevard of diamonds

Boulevard of diamonds

The old photograph of the flapper girl
at first blush I could have sworn
she was drinking
from the man in the top hat’s finger

An emperor’s daughter seated
on the lap of Isis

The diners dine by pneumatic drill
in an art deco flat
with a view to the coal barges
at table it’s a feast
of first-past-the-creole
a limbo of a floating door
that ingenue painted on the pueblo wall

Her work sells now

And with a partner
who takes art pictures
of her nude
and of her hands
toolless, un-horned
the clinking of distinguished glasses
sounds like the beating of pearls
on a marble floor.

This time I am going to have to find
the artist
who will paint all of these faces
a different color
but keep the dress code the same

That is until
reinvention shuffles
everything toward a fashionable
salon on the boulevard of diamonds

Rain glistens there
among terrace lights
and out on patios beneath
bank towers

Invisible hands remain nothing
but shadows in the downpour

Felt but unseen

As they blow the wind
through toothpick parasols
stirring the cocktails.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Little girls and boys

Little girls and boys

They are going to name a park for her
and restore the old metal
play ground toys
the jungle gym and wobbly bridge
the teeter-totter and the carousel

With her name
embossed on a plaque
the park will say
she birthed her dreams here
and walked through ice

The park will have
willows
marking a water source
and it will have
magnolias
of the deciduous kind

They remind me of myself
or at least
how I would like to be

There is no ocean
no boardwalk with its groaning
bursts of storm
but there is a river stoned by ice
it whines
behind willowed banks
that sway like bridal gowns

Even with yellow fingers
in the dead of winter

Their color
it will be in her park too
beside the metal toys
that make warriors
out of little girls and boys.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Father’s counting

Father’s counting

Snow lies across the lawn
full of toys
a landlord stumbles over
a plastic trike
kicks a toboggan in frustration
but overlooks the buried iron filings

The door goes unanswered
notes and then
a notice

Babies
flushed with joy
in winter’s windows
the downtown ice towers
are part of the father’s counting
waiting on his child

His face wonders at the great
free gift
of wheels, legs wabbling
down the bundled
streets

Lights
they have opened
their eyes.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Learn to drive

Learn to drive

You can learn to drive by playing hopscotch
or beat a drum and become numb
to all the nags and bullies
the ever present dangers of believing

As Ozymandias nearly did

That things come to naught in the end

Now,
eight miles high
or off on cloud nine

The city gives so many lessons the children
are always learning
like where the mudcats bite hardest
and mosquitoes make their chorus
almost pretty enough to be endured

Those boys
how they wear their bites like soldiers
come back from wars
they’re gonna have to fight
to make their fighting chance

Learn to drive
by frog manning it
doing the bob and weave
after a rogue ball
gone into the murky pools
in all the derelict places

Old foundations

They dot the city like ten thousand
swimming pools.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Beauticians and Bandits

Beauticians and Bandits

When do things happen
while you lie sleeping at night

Drinking in the moonlight
breathing bright snow melts down
some four hundred northern miles

I’ve never been to lodges
or beaches where the flies bite cold

And you need a hoody in summer
with sweats to guard your ankles

People in the neighbourhood never really
been anywhere

The library has pictures to stare at
of funny looking creatures
and snow 400 inches high every winter
up somewhere in the UP

When do things happen
in the middle of chores like garbage day

Crocuses and Snowdrops migrate across
the front yard
mixing with blowing wrappers and butts
sprouting their sassy white lips

There are flying fish during the night
off of Trinidad
and castles in Auburn Hills
built for beauticians and bandits

All left to climb into the gourds
hanging for their words.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Around the corner

Around the corner

She would walk to school with friends
they talked about finishing

Plans, always making plans like anyone does
since that’s what is supposed to be done

Two home owners on the street were always
out mowing lawns for the rest

The remainder of the day was make work
make do, inside and out of school

Often it would rain or turn grey in the afternoon
the lake could break the mood

But if you were up with the sun
you would see her out with her friends
walking, talking about finishing school

While the warehouse around the corner
remained silent as a tomb.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Florists

Florists

I dreamed the nurses would bring me flowers
blooms I’d never seen

There used to be trees by my window
but they’ve been cut down

On the hospital grounds where rich patients
go there are flowering trees
that soothe like white walls on spring evenings
with a touch of lavender

Sometimes I think the only place the whole
city can go is to a hospital
with a long lawn and tree for each one of us

There will be bouquets by our beds
put there by well wishers, people who truly care
bought from grocery chains in the suburbs

Or from florists still in business
I wanted to work for one during school
but her shop burned down

I am going to send away for a catalogue
and think about seeds.

Jeremy Nathan Marks