The book I almost finished.
The look I gave you
while you weren’t looking and now
you’ll never know the way I feel.
Oh well. Most paint jobs
are shoddy. I wrote “pain jobs”
then fixed it. On my desk three stones
two earplugs and a tangerine.
The earplugs and tangerine resemble
each other in color, but this doesn’t
hugely matter. If only we didn’t
care about what doesn’t matter
but people do. An awful TV show where
women fight in reality over something
unreal: a “good man.” I say
unreal but mean invented. I consult
the bat necklace hanging above
my desk when angry, a talisman
of decentralized personal power.
You’ve given me a bad name
I’ll only make worse.
I collect stones because
they won’t leave me before
I leave this world. By night,
trees that in daylight look dark
transform to beige
oversized insect legs flailing in a garden
that’s mostly a shitty
walkway between buildings
city dwellers would covet a view of
because it’s better than no window.
Better than nothing: I wouldn’t say that
of the “good man” who fucked
with “unparalleled enthusiasm” last summer
but I’d say it of you.
ARI BANIAS lives in the Bay Area and is a Stegner fellow in poetry at Stanford. The author of a chapbook, What’s Personal is Being Here With All of You (Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs, 2012), his poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, PEN Poetry Series, The Offing, and others. His first book, Anybody, is forthcoming from W.W. Norton in fall of 2016.