TRAVEL ADVISORY

Some days the world is a luscious peach.
Others, a cold boiled potato. The difference
between knowing what to do and doing it
is four dollars. How you get there is your business.
If praying your way, lock the door after you leave.

CONVERSATION WITH AN IMAGINARY FRIEND

  1. Imagine a looking glass song, memorized,
    mesmerizing, like a photograph, a useless

room, a door not closed or open.
Startled words gathered,

beautiful, spangled with dust.

2.

The cold makes his breath
into frozen sentences

an escaped conversation,
becoming a frost inflection, an object

like the photograph he once was.

3.

Ouroboros. He remembers Delphi,
6am and sitting on a hill watching

tour buses snake up the mountain road.
Sacred and profane: an enjambed balance –

what a thing is and exactly
what’s missing. The Oracle,

never photographed, readies for seekers

4.

Wishes on the moon, a new moon.
Wishes to go back, to turn slowly.

To remember to listen and feel, not think.
12 minutes, seconds. Two words. Wishing

to make a bird fly, even though it already has.

5.

The days’ held breath is let go,
night exhales the moon,

tardy stars, and unpainted darkness.
Prayers, desire, fistfuls of heart-

pounded wishes faint against the air,
wordless, disembodied, caressed

6.

If you will know they correct order of letters,
you make a world, you make creation.

An image and its presumed shadow. A butterfly
talking to the wind. How he talks to himself,

reimagining dust as longing. An intimate
conversation with absence. Not tactile,

desired. Misunderstanding any way to explain.

7.

For this, his disappeared life, another dream
like a flat tire. Where he lives, a mirror

freshly emptied. The afterimage?
A warm dream where all is well.

His life, a bird just beyond flight

8.

The theory: make a line drawing
of everywhere you’ve ever lived,

and you’ll end up drawing
your own face. The mouth

and lips play at being muscles.

9.

Nowhere better than anywhere
The house rests on its hips.

The sum of our mistakes:
nerves, blood, skin.

Homecoming: wrong, wayward, sullied.

10.

What he throws his life against: day
upon day, complicated, longing

a fist through a window, the image
on the back of a mirror,

a reminder life is hiding somewhere.

Mark Fleckenstein: I was born in Chicago, Ohio, Michigan, Connecticut, North Carolina and New Hampshire. Graduated from University of North Carolina in Charlotte (B.A. in English), Vermont College of Fine Arts (MFA in Writing), and after finishing my MFA, settled in Massachusetts.  Then marriage, two amazing daughters, divorce, four addresses and three cats later, and not trying to publish for several decades, published my first full length collection of poetry. Making Up the World (Editions Dedicaces, 2018), followed by God Box (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, 2019), and A Name for Everything (Cervena Barva Press, 2020) and a chapbook, Memoir as Conversation (Unsolicited Press, 2019). 

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