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By The Green Hills of Manhattan John Yau

This is the sky that left us. This is the poem that remains on the tip of your tongue, a drop of distilled venom waiting to be deposited in the proper stanza. This is the poem that doesn't get written because it writes itself. This is the writing that becomes a clock whose hands turn around the poem.

I went to the antique booth to have my photograph taken by a machine that no longer exists. A voice asks me to face the mirror, where I can see that my face is in serious need of repair. A miner pokes his head through the thick, dirty curtains, wondering if I will be in here much longer, because he is in a hurry to enter the room where the only light comes from the lamp mounted on his forehead. There is something to be said about waiting for a long time, I tell him, but I won't be saying it to you. He smiles. His teeth remind me of a rodent. Should I be sniffing my underarms or his for clues?

The antique booth is the poem which many people visit, especially when they have nothing better to do. I had an aunt who liked to sit there on rainy days, by the window overlooking the droopy jonquils, pretending that her childhood friend, Lucy, would finally leave childhood behind.

In the lyric poem the class read yesterday, a martyr tied himself to a jacaranda tree shortly before the commuters arrived at the nearby bus stop. A young woman without a bonnet carried a pair of cymbals. A man scratched what remained of his head. A cry was heard. It wasn't the martyr who no one could remember seeing.

These are nothing more than dandelions of distraction. Listen, matadors, does anyone remember why the martyr is a cornerstone of the poet's conception of grief? Remember, Robin Hood worked in a trendy cocktail bar, but it didn't help him with his confidence meter, which seemed to putter along, a reliable golf cart. Come, stick your oar in the mud of today's lies and disasters and explain yourself, beginning at the top.