The air of the day abhors us

and drives outliers like her

inside the crowded train.

She speed talks it hurts

my eyes it’s too wet

like wet whatever

and cold in my eyes.

I ride the length of town

with her and smiling nuns,

skateboards, teens kissing,

toddlers on leashes,

Mission Bay to Ocean Beach.

Wet riders come and go.

The orator and I hold firm.

Who gives alms to Poor Tom

when the foul fiend vexes?

The rain lets up:

out on the sidewalks

Asian gleaners appear

with smiley-face latex gloves

and XXL garbage bags,

neatly dressed, picking through

the city’s sinuses,

fastidious and focused

among the street singers

and their pussy scabs split

across raw fatty hands:

they sing to their doubles,

the elementals and invisibles

whose squeaky vocals reel

from tree roots and concrete.





Simone Di Piero is the author of many books of poetry, essays, and translations.  His recent books of poems are Nitro Nights (Copper Canyon, 2011) and TOMBO (McSweeney’s, 2014); his recent essay collections are City Dog and When Can I See you Again: New Art Writings. He’s a frequent contributor to Threepenny Review and writes a regular column on the visual arts for an independent weekly newspaper, The San Diego Reader. He lives in San Francisco.



Issue #63 October 2016
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