Separate City: Prose Poems

Keith Ekiss

Into the City

Off the train, up to Market, you discovered a separate city of quarter films and hustlers, of veterans who wore the clothes they were given, of mothers who awoke to find the safety pins missing, pierced into the lips of three-chord punks who couldn’t tune. On the street, dogs with teeth like jewelry. A history written in brick and fracture. All around you were vestiges: ornate colonnades, statues of soldiers, streets minted with the names of robber barons, a dome rusted to the color of the dollar. Once the city shook and burned. Now it seemed the citizens were in ruins: pink facade of the hospital through mist, the sick with views of the ocean and bridge.

In Which White Horses Appear

Through the tunnel on the line that ends at the beach, that ends in fog, the car never empty, students and secretaries, an elderly Chinese woman hauling greens. No seat so you’d stand, quiet even there in the bodily rush. Streets tripped by and you picked up the alphabet, Quintara, Rivera. The ocean before you shimmered into place. Oh, but those were the first days, and this seemed like the new world, promised all along. The city so close to its psychedelic glaze you caught a contact high. The city as theater, everyone playing a part, no one tipping you off as two white horses appear beyond the window, their own hallucination, coats of cream, coats of fog, there as long as you were, and gone now, long gone.

Read three more poems by Keith Ekiss by downloading the free Amazon digest version of The Kenyon Review here.

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