Today's poem is by Mandy Kahn

Letter from Hollywood
        for Claude Debussy

Let's not ever swell to rich
or molder into fame.

Here I steal through alleys
cutting flowers,

and look: you're on the way
to the shop
for more Japanese porcelain.
Now you're rapt,
inspecting figurines: a girl, a fish in air,
cherry blossoms
falling in blue
on each base.

Now you drink the city whole,
having spent
the money sent for food
on one hard fish
you cannot eat,

while I cut a scarecrow's shape
in pants that holes from wearing
make a lattice,
on an evening I'm needed by no one.

Bougainvillea brightens all the
sagging walls in Hollywood,
scaling alleys like
they were gates at an inn.

your coat a lacework
made by moth holes,
hurry past Parisian restaurants,
porcelain safe in a fist.

Let them keep the
stately house you'll
hide in, at the end,
and the twenty-franc note
you'll emblazon
like charms on a wrist.
I take my midnight walks
with scissors,
cutting blooms that hang by trash bins,
to fill my mugs and jars.
And Claude—Achille, still—you
punch through your pockets, hungry,
wondering why you aren't yet.

One final prayer for us:
let these streets be time's loops
turning backwards;

keep us here forever, mending holes.

Copyright © 2017 Mandy Kahn All rights reserved
from Glenn Gould's Chair
Eyewear Publishing
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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