Three a.m. and you’re smoking, Dear,
(and so am I). One shared-cigar
and music--something extravagant
romantic, pours from a bag lady's
mouth as her handcart jumps fish-silver
at the sidewalk's buckled vertebrae
where the Chinese New Year tunneling
underground marches the dragon's collaborative
concrete spine to the end of the block.
Outside The Black Tulip we collect
our affections like rainwater
and then hold the canteen
of each other for the certain thirst.
We treat our love like our houseplants,
making them wait so long,
they slouch toward the sink
before we finally give in
and hand them a drink.
Inside the black tulip:
night-lit, visceral, every color of hurt,
of scabs, the dried injury’s memory
of what it meant to tear open,
a space like that within praying hands.
Inside the black tulip, a small room
where a tiny family might gather
around the dollhouse television
as if it were a fire. The president
might present the queen with an i-pod
and we’d think it surreal only here,
where the black tulip chimes
the hour of Plato’s worst fears,
to name a thing is to make it possible,
to make it possible invites the lie.
Outside The Black Tulip, our breath
braids tequila and rum, and someone
tells someone of how today the queen
was given an i-pod by the president
and for a minute, in another realm, Plato
and Einstein raise their glass across
the mushroom clouds of paradise
as an imaginary family inside an imaginary
flower, grown in an imaginary (impossible)
shade of night, points their imaginary
remote control at their tiny screen
and shuts our whole world down.