Asleep at the Wheel

Brass clouds, atoms gone
viral, beyond god control,
atoms believing they lead unique lives.

Brass clouds of atoms like wasps
pay close attention to those
they refuse to bury
under any circumstance,
like marrow,
like those likely to impersonate
icons as, say, totems that document
every sleight-of-hand dynasty.

Mescaline eyelashes pump
toothpick crowd teething
bites from sterling parchment trays:
blended cheeses, feral ham
on baked chips
of two or more orgasmic
Midwest ingredients; shame on amphibians;
T.rex arose 4 am sharp
from the pits of La Brea—
producers first to mobilize,
cellphones twinkling pitch black limousines,
fathers disappearing down ant lion quicksand—
first to arrive were the most sensitive
animals of the forest—painted bunting,
lazy loris, and naked ani, a bird so tiny
it must be inhaled like a gnat
(speck with wings) or filament woven
into a moral curtain—philosophical curtain,
curtain made of hammers and rusted supervision,
curtain melted into iron by negligence,
by falling asleep at the wheel,
by agreeing to everything
and power napping the apex
of our on-going crisis.

In August 2015 Alan Britt was invited by the Ecuadorian House of Culture Benjamín Carrión in Quito, Ecuador as part of the first cultural exchange of poets between Ecuador and the United States. His interview at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem aired on Pacifica Radio, January 2013. He has published 15 books of poetry, including his latest, Violin Smoke, translated into Hungarian by Paul Sohar and published by Iradalmi Jelen Könyvek publishers. Read other articles by Alan.