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Because It Has a Surface
It’s civic because it has a surface. It’s worse than it seems, but at least it keeps seeming. Though I become butter in the face of such hard-knifed buildings, I’d like to locate a harmony that does not equal plan. That doesn’t tilt the map toward a penthouse. Now might be a good time to tell you. If it can’t be faked, it is not our city. It is not our city. It is time we faked it.


It’s civic because it has a surface. A week of hangovers takes the shape of string lights. The top of the DHL truck so rusted it gives the yellow a margin to fry in. To watch the light die and pull out a seat for its caption. A flam hits two points of time in the circle of one note. All my life I keep telling you. This interview is over.


It’s civic because it has a surface, which may disclose interior truths, or alternatively falsify the documents. Bricks extend back into the pre-war you’d guess. But I watched workers carve them out of plaster, then paint them red. Am I free now to read from my chest hair a missing chisel? It’s civic because it has a surface. You’ll have to live with the work that’s done to get it.


It’s civic because it has a surface. Whose surface remains pertinent. If we repeat the same elements, a cartilage. Did life give you lemons? File melons. Music spills into the street. Two different tempi flint a third by way of prodigal hi hats. Towards what miracle, what migraine I don’t know. For your hunger. Not the dish. Stick a fork in the fork.


Late I say it begins—the window pillows. Elbows seem to stoke the street, lost twin to our houses. The pavement is not 0, but pit. The men splitting peanuts on their elbows do not talk in the ordinary sense. It is more like holding the door open after you pass. The sky, I insist, is not our destination, but hinge. As opposed to trompe l’oeil, for me there is no greater magic than the wall that flattens into passage, if you give your hands a way to meet its weight. Asshat, the sign says push.


It’s civic because it has a surface. Gnat climbs into my nose in real time. This link is no longer trampoline. A screw converts surface pressure to depth. You must download the errant street sound, or be cursed to wander your thoughts without footnotes. The scent of latex stays on the skin long after the condom has been removed. After a few years I stop calling it my city. I stop calling it a city. But I do not stop calling it.


It’s civic because it has a surface. Thank you for your service. Who do you say it to? I felt which of the below a) left out b) left of center c) like I’ve returned d) to sender. Needless to say I didn’t feel in a grid. I too am a guilty plan, fall into loud blocks when you ask for an answer.


Rent your energy from a baguette. Spend it like a mallet on clean little spasms. A kind of nail which undoes a foundation when hit. Men are always screaming at women on the street. Why? For making them angry. It’s civic because it has a surface. But the waitress keeps passing. Will you ask for the check. Are you mad. Are you mad at me.


It’s civic because it has a surface. Wherefore art thou what’s his face. Show me in the bright wall I cannot see next to. The surface is blinding. Rewind it back for me, sugar. The lining is perfect. It’s the buttons I hate.


When night falls, glass starts to double the fluorescents. Which doesn’t leave a lot of room for you. The abyss calls back. Box full. They is only you in a mirror. No, that’s a window. Whoa. That’s a window. Night kiss its own lips. Self-smacking surfaces. We’re guaranteed to line up, not to get in. Because it has a surface, it’s civic.

Greg Nissan is the author of The City Is Lush With / Obstructed Views (DoubleCross Press). His writing has appeared in AsymptoteBOMBBoston ReviewDenver Quarterly, and Frieze. He is currently translating Ann Cotten’s Banned! An Epic Poem from the German.