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Poems by Michael Klein

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Someone is putting the world back together – Aaron Smith

Here’s what’s different:  Bruce, who is now Sheila
won’t join a gym because she’s still transitioning
and can’t change clothes in either locker room.
She’s between two rooms of time.  And the country is different
but the same—everything we talked about.  Nothing really changes
except extent.  But there’s a lot more death since you died.

People live for it, now:  endless wars in countries
that seem like they are being torn out of the book of earth.
Peace is revolutionary—that hasn’t changed
but intelligence is less popular now.  And inspiration.
There’s no money in it.  Some of us have been possessed by a more fearful version
of who we are and aim the camera at ourselves to make sure we are living.

I can’t even say the word for what the picture is
called but it begins with self.  I can barely recognize us
because of something called fashion.  Where are the communities of conspiracy?
I want to stay changing.
Websites.  So many websites like radium.
There’s a website that consists entirely of lists.

Whenever I look at a list with names on it
I think of death and awards.
Movies are different since you died.  You don’t
have to go to them anymore.  They come through television along with
news from another planet similar to this one.  The other planet
has some of the same names for places:  Fukushima, Russia.

In one of the Russias you can’t be gay.
When you were alive the best thing about being gay
was the poetry and the other arts that came through
the gay body.  Now all anybody wants to do is get married
which I did but it was never on a list—a whim, really—a garden rose
out of nowhere in Provincetown:  me and Andrew.  Amy took pictures in the sun.

I got to read out loud!  Queer minds were the best minds of my generation.
Queer shoulder to the wheel.  And Ginsberg.
He died, too.  But you know that.  He’s right next to you
with his living harmonium standing at the board
with a piece of cosmic chalk in his hand ready to draw the world
all over again—a world Suzanne G. dreamed would hold all the people.

If all this sounds rhetorical and simplistic it is because the idea
that I live at all is rhetorical and simplistic.  Here I am, as I am,
as I do.  I wake forgetting everything eventually gets lost
to the culmination.  And so today I held my living closer
than I thought it was and saw two beautiful kids
in front of the Chinese take-out draw a line in colored chalk

down the whole length of sidewalk between Broadway and Cooper
switching colors every few feet so it looked like they were pressing
a rainbow down into the earth. I don’t know what the line is for
or when they’ll ever stop it or if it will come again.
But I hope it never ends.
I hope it’s the line keeping the world in the sky.