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Ideal Cities

Ideal cities are cities where the neighbors

play soul music all night long & don’t care

who they bother because who doesn’t like Holy Ghost

or Loose Booty? Ideal cities have at least one drunk lady

outside the liquor store mornings, who asks you to hold

her cigarette so she can lean in to touch your baby.

In ideal cities, the pharmacist knows your prescriptions

by heart. In ideal cities your neighbor sells pot to the cops

for a living, though you’ve never seen him do it & most days

he wears a caftan to glue rhinestones on the cement frogs

in his yard. On trash night in ideal cities your other neighbors

swap stories in the alleys. Ideal cities

have margins that aren’t pretty or bleak

and are without proper representation

but have no grievances. My ideal city

has a wish-list written on the back

of an envelope scrap, an ATM slip.

My ideal city is peripheral and claims

uneven sidewalks. In the ideal city

my neighbor is a taxi driver.

My neighbor is at sea.

My neighbor thinks

his house is haunted

while his wife’s away

on business. My neighbor

gives a robber a glass

of Château Malescot St.-Exupéry

and a hug. In the ideal city my neighbors

are a multi-generational

family & one guy

who puts chairs

in the street

to save a spot

for our moving truck.