“The Man Who Will Watch My Car”, “The Rooms to Come” and “Vaporlands”

by Michael Borth

The Man Who Will Watch My Car

I am going to pay a man

to stand by my car

and protect it

from the nomadic thieves

of the grid deserts,

the car I dreamed about

when I was a child

when I was unemployed

when I was weeping

in small painted rooms

with my hands in a ring.

But the man will be handsome

and my wife will begin to notice

his mountainous hands

his stoic postures

his black coffee

the outline of the gun

he bought with mercenary earnings

in a lush hotel room

in Athens or Istanbul.

In our narrow austere building

she will seek in the day

views and glances

that warm her tree of centers

as he stands not sweating

in the heat

we still bargain with.

And one day

when I have just stopped crushing an orange

I will hear her whimper

and the whimper

I will hear

all over my life,

a sonic marking

a final admission

and we both will know

but diagram our routines

and watch our glacial dances

turn the very life

we now detest.

And the whimper

will find a lost brother

in the persistent click

coming from the undercarriage

of my wheeled treasure

and my mechanic

will want me to help his son

in a business matter

seemingly drawn

by foaming mental defectives

in a room of one light

and snow.

And my boss,

a pale man who gnaws his upper lip,

will ask me obscene questions

about my car

and we will go on night rides

where he talks of his mistress,

the one who cannot

bear condoms,

and he will view his life

as a series of growing prisons

where every escape

is an entrance

and the pulse

from the birth of each streetlight

will make us slow

and melancholic

will make us remember

microwaved pizza

and adolescent loves

as bleedingmen

organize their trash.

The Rooms To Come

Whistling that comes down

the vertical corridor

along with a green olive

and a pink ball.

There is a perfect place

out by the archetype gas station

where an old man stands

in a puddle of flowers,

crying pink,

not far from the abandoned

drive-in movie screen

in invisible flames

in some perpetual dusk.

I find it

and stare at it

past what can be seen

and make myself

unable to be found,

shedding voices

and wandering

through some other city

vanished and serene,

touching the coins

on the table, on the wall unit,

becoming beyond real

and beyond imaginary.

Coughing and the infinite sneeze

and a troubled dog,

the incomprehensible tiendas

like the one with golden shoes.

The punks that lived

in the house they haunted

by the fruit stand

where my mother treated me

to Slim Jims.

And we all wondered

why I was so fat.

The drawer of expired condoms

on election day in Brazil,

the tissue box that says Elite,

the careful drawings

of nonexistent cities

I kept in a desk.

We live in the dreams

that we received

and changed

and dreamed again.

A rabid childhood collage

fed to a river

and collected in a distant sea

and eaten, now a psychotic,

and vomited

on the shore

where it is eaten

by a fawn

that we kill and devour

ten years later,

and in the feast

we are visited

by an exact copy

of the room we are now in

and a vision taste

of all rooms to come.

VAPORLANDS

Big sad South American cities

where there are sudden cuts of jungle

and the walls weep

and everything has been blasted

by the moisture

so there is tired mold and shadow

and the newer apartment buildings

look older and wiser

than any stone ruin.

São Paulo is the city

where people peer into

blackened windows

and in Da Nang

a child would always appear

to smile

and in Lisbon

it was the city of secret construction

or abandoned projects,

and through the empty windowframes

slanted wooden beams

were saved and exalted

by channels of sunlight.

We are given clues

to our own childhood—

a zen sandbox,

a recurring staircase—

working backward

to be born head out

in a white-tiled café

where the coffee is poured

from a strong kettle

whose scrollwork

has been partially erased

and the opera singer’s father

kept finding new women

even though the church

finally let him become

a Roman Catholic preacher.

The segments of digital numbers

float above your palm

free from their plastic houses,

the man will not be let back into the bar

and the shutter is already

halfclosed,

the astrologer in Medellín

keeps posting videos

and the more beautiful she becomes

the more she is talking

only to you.

About the Author

Michael Borth

Michael Borth is a writer and musician from the Hudson Valley. During his time in New York City, he served as the singer and guitarist of Even Hand. He is currently based in South America, and can be reached at michaeljborth@gmail.com.