Spring 2010, Volume 8

Poetry by Dixie Salazar

Altar with Wrist Band, Smashed Can and Pack of Camels

No hole in my throat
I said—then checked myself out
AMA–white sharks snapping at my heels
but I hid in the chapel
watched the moon squeezed through the trees
3 AM—nothing’s open
but containers and it’s open season on homeless
but it’s nice here—the moon big and sticky
spiked on the hospital roof vents
cool air slaps back and forth—
automatic ocean doors
admitting the broken and crushed
washed up on charity’s beach
like smashed tin cans
all the sirens asleep—
frequent flyers tucked in tight
and sweet buzzed on meds
air delicious with smoke
from the courtyard where the bomb squad
dismantles a six pack—
my tongue smiles finding the last pill
tucked in my cheek
where I cut a handy flap—
“Just cuz they call you crazy’s no reason
to tattoo it on your butt” the floor nurse said
after my injection
hooking me up to the tank—
took some doing but I snuck my smokes—
gave up men, sex and beer for cigarettes
there when you need em
always satisfy—AND you can put em out
when you’re done—
now I’m ready
flying under the radar
sneaking past the gate keepers
falling off the charts
inhale—exhale the holy ring of smoke
whatever comes my way—
just close my eyes
and jump

Altar With Wad of Gum, Dead Roach, Bent Key Card
and Broken Chopstick Spattered With Cobalt Paint.

Behold the pageants that unfold
behind the studios nightly
the roach trek over and around
asphalt bubbles, a constellation
of crushed glass, the paltry battles
and invisible feasts.
Behold the abandoned file cabinets,
and holy swivel of chairs—
the panoramic view of one-way alleys
where the forty hour weeks have collapsed
into a soiled cup of small change.

A red neon cross winks boldly
above the Radisson, vibrates
with the aphrodisiac radiance
of martinis and unattainable key cards.
Soft Vermeerish light spills
down from the peachy comfort of rooms
well sound-proofed against
the rattle of squeaky shopping carts.

Between Corridor 21 and Fig Tree Gallery
a dark lump curls around a smaller lump
sleeping off the side effects of the moon.
A Chinese take out carton yawns
and sinks into dreams of lost
concubines and profit margins,
the tangled string theory of bubblegum.
Lost tribes of yellow eyes
blink in the darkness that beats
wild and smooth and fills
with the slobber of neon,
the sleepy spell of well tuned antennae,
the nocturnal grind of survival.

When the crime copters stop chopping
the air to bits, the parking meters
and faceless clocks run down—
dregs of Chow mein, Ripple
and mock orange perfume the night.
Behold the banquet of faceless guests
how the night serves up endless courses
of battered dreams, how it expands
to hold whatever still trembles—
still breathes.


BIO: Dixie Salazar has published three books of poetry: HOTEL FRESNO, REINCARNATION OF THE COMMONPLACE, BLOOD MYSTERIES and forthcoming from University of Arizona Press in 2009, FLAMENCO HIPS AND RED MUD FEET. She has a novel, LIMBO from White Pine Press and is also a visual artist, working primarily in oils. Her art studio, Silva Salazar Studio is located at 654 Van ness. She has taught extensively in the prisons and currently is involved with a project for creating a homeless drop in center in downtown Fresno.