You could write home about any of these:

the tourists turning their faces up in the rain
to gaze at the knickers of Marilyn’s larger-
than-life-size statue, her sculpted skirt
fanned open like sampan sails in the wind—

in the shadow of a billboard that says
Occupy Your Bed, the poet in his motel room
wondering about bed bugs before drifting off,
a haze cast by traffic lights on the window—

the slim boys and girls in olive uniforms and Mao caps
emblazoned with one red star each, serving spicy hot
pot chicken and salt and pepper shrimp in Chinatown,
years away from the cultural revolution—

the nine thousand five hundred and some writers
rushing from one conference room to another, the lines
for coffee and croissants longer than discourse, fleeting
conversations with the sound of riffled pages—

the man singing Billy Joel covers at the piano
in the chop house, the waiter who sang ode
after ode to marbled steaks, their filets
and strips, their bone-in and barrel cuts—

the sky above the art institute beginning to color
like the inside of a skillet, sheen of a butter knife
lying beside a plate of fish in a Dutch still life as towns
splinter apart in the wake of tornados down south—

the man on the street corner rattling his cup of coins
breathing Sweet little momma, please help;
the stranger pointing to his camera then to his face,
bowing and saying Thank you, please, you’re welcome.


In response to Words on the Street.

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