Ideal cities are cities where the neighbors
play soul music all night long & don't care
who they bother because who doesn't like Holy Ghost
or Loose Booty? Ideal cities have at least one drunk lady
outside the liquor store mornings, who asks you to hold
her cigarette so she can lean in to touch your baby.
In ideal cities, the pharmacist knows your prescriptions
by heart. In ideal cities your neighbor sells pot to the cops
for a living, though you've never seen him do it & most days
he wears a caftan to glue rhinestones on the cement frogs
in his yard. On trash night in ideal cities your other neighbors
swap stories in the alleys. Ideal cities
have margins that aren't pretty or bleak
and are without proper representation
but have no grievances. My ideal city
has a wish list written on the back
of an envelope scrap, an ATM slip.
My ideal city is peripheral and claims
uneven sidewalks. In the ideal city
my neighbor is a taxi driver.
My neighbor is at sea.
My neighbor thinks
his house is haunted
while his wife's away
on business. My neighbor
gives a robber a glass
of Chateau Malescot St-Exupéry
and a hug. In the ideal city my neighbors
are a multi-generational
family & one guy
who puts chairs
in the street
to save a spot
for our moving truck.
Copyright © 2010 by Erika Meitner
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission