I often lie to people at parties
about writing poems about bathtubs
What about bathtubs? They ask
Oh, you know
Their sleekness, the way they
just kind of sit there, waiting,
and sometimes, bathtubs as metaphors
Now and then they ask to read one
I’m sorry, I say, the bathtub file is sealed
that usually gets me a giggle or a smile
and they go back to their drink
Well today I woke up in a bathtub
not my own
I started thinking
about what a dishonest scumbag I’ve been
and what would Ferlinghetti think?
I don’t even want to know
and I want to be a better person
so I finally got around to writing this poem
about a bathtub
LEFT IN PITTSBURGH
We had an argument one time.
Is this city a noun or verb?
You insisted noun, I contended verb.
You saw the cracks in the sidewalk,
the fire escapes going up to nothing,
the rain on the window pane,
the streetcar stopped under the shoes hung
on the powerline, laces white with snow. What ever happened to jazz? You demanded.
I see the lights going out one by one,
the dumpster lids slamming shut,
the brunch spots coming alive at eleven,
the passing of fancies,
and the streetcar skating away from us
with your scarf on a seat.
Tranquility doesn’t shatter! It melts!
Bridges rot, stones clatter,
bowling alleys fall from grace.
The drive to Scottsdale was long,
We listened to classic rock, no country.Without sleep, we found hubris,
like the spines of cacti,
sharpened in drought.
Ahistorically, I wondered
whether the road would last
Miles Varana’s work has appeared in Typehouse, The Penn Review, Crack the Spine, and is forthcoming in Passages North. He has worked previously as a staff reader and managing editor at Hawai’i Pacific Review. Miles lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he spends more time listening to podcasts than is probably healthy.