A City Full of Eyes (James Cilhar)

About James Cihlar
Author’s Notes

 • Rancho Nostalgia
 • ’Til We Meet Again
 • Night Song
 • Lonely, Deeply
 • Light and Dark
 • The Face Behind the Mask
 • Johnny Guitar
 • Undercurrent
 • Nora Prentiss
 • King Arthur and His Mob
 • The Normal Lives of
    Good People
 • English Poem
 • The Projectionist
 • Man Proof
 • The Reality Show
 • Modern Maturity
 • Epistemology Roadshow
 • Nostalgiarama
Let’s All Chant
 • Rancho Nostalgia II



Let’s All Chant

In the theater
Barbara Streisand’s disco voice
careened around several half notes
before rhythmically pounding the chorus.

As Laura, a fleshy, mature Faye Dunaway
in slit skirts, slouch hats, and shawls layered
over coats ran down New York Streets alone.
She saw through the eyes of a killer
before the murder happened.

When the Michael Zager Band
began caterwauling,
Laura told the blue-eyed male model
to recline on the edge of the pool as if dead.
He never looked so good.

Not ready to absorb sex
I had no choice but to sit still
and hope no one noticed me.
Adult challenges lay ahead,
the change in direction
the color wheel took
after my parents
put me to bed at night.
A story doesn’t need words
for everyone to know it.

Laura’s models understood the pleasure
of giving each other topless backrubs,
delicately snorting a line on the job.
Sophistication pulls us into sex,
not the raw drop and roll,
the sticky bang bang
of our cells talking to each other.

This day has taken many years
to shed the morning,
yet I need more time.
When the parking lot
hit my friend’s forehead,
she lost six months.
There is enough
electricity in the brain to burn
a forty-watt light bulb.
Medical science should try
bringing up the energy,
not taking it down.

Sometimes the physical world
is against us. I hope I kept the body safe.
Coming off the exit ramp mid-fight,
my husband screamed to get my attention
before I merged into a speeding car.
I accompanied my cat
to the vet’s operating room
while she drew urine from his side
with a hollow needle.

A friend is covering his body
with writing. He has had two surgeries
on his brain. I began remembering
the day after I was born. When I replace a cut
with words, it doesn’t hurt. Enforced
retirement, I call it, mandatory nostalgia.
When no bare skin is left, we die.

  © James Cihlar, 2012


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