from Start Charging

Tony Mancus

This bread is hard to chew

Rocks in the mouth
A dozen flat sparrows on the line

Power likes its kind
Chef wearing very skimpy clothes

Salt stains in the window dressing




Another five purchases
will get you
at least a punch
card and then
who knows what




Here we                                   here we

don’t believe anything
a woman says she says and says

The menu items weren’t pretty or smiling like they should’ve been

It’s 1919/42/2018 again(st)



The body mangling


having jumped
their hoops
back through
everyone else

The news repeated
does not get better

It’s just the numbers game
in the names of the stores


I take one plane and think
stories sell

patches of color
squared themselves
out on the ground below

the water paths
walk right thru
our designs


I have no compliance

no more plaintive
            Don’t it beat a slow dance to death
ability to make language change
from speech to song and back

no suture to pull the flintlock
future down
to this here glide

* * *

In one scene firelight
splits the faces
of two lovers

between their features - this light
a product of something
resembling fire
but not the thing itself

and the lovers
have been paid to
look good enough
to be enlarged and live
in our lives











Damn river
The sky never said
how to name
whatever you think
might be a song

Cloud syllables mentioning
the cloud hospital - they speak
plainly and our voices hush


Another scene presents
two lovers engaged
in a bout of ire - the distance
their bodies tell
in folded limbs

silently each
carries a memory
of a night before - their friends
(who were also paid to be
good looking, but less so
and in more interesting ways
maybe) were embarrassed
acting like
something spilled
or spoiled
that shouldn’t have

one says in every cure
there is some sickness

they forget this after
but don’t forgive themselves
or others and call
this moment back
whenever they’re missing
the proper strain

through the rest
of what we see
of their lives
the frame speed
remains the same

* * *

Two ways through any door
some wilt/some sway
and this basically reads like
bad advice from a bag of tea
salt or impending break-
up lyrics

But you can forgive the people
who produced it



















You maybe can’t
forgive yourself
but revivify moments
where you know you

Call this next place home / for night is a proclamation    and the strings are afraid / to pull it closed.

Begging for a key.

The crooning mourners.

Impending season for surgery –

to watch the blood begin its course / outside the body

is always a shock.

I don’t care                                              whose it is / how you claim / to be a witness.

All the foreign                                        bodies / even our own / are not ours


some wilt/some sway.









Inconsequential things we say
to the light and how we crowd
the night with labored breathing

To say metaphor now -