John Vieira

Three Raps


When a woman comes in close there is something
heavy she wants to say to a man in the driveway.
You are aware of her, her will, her having to confer.
Years from now the boat will reach its port, remote
(no doubt) but not arctic. Like you drove her Buick
on to Georgia, to Athens, not having to put gas in—
that July her predilection took her in one direction
& you on another (lesser) trip so as not to test her.


Birthplace of Anita O'Day my hometown was okay
I guess: what do I know, I had no others. Even so,
I suffered a long exodus from it, sorely conscious
of what I was missing in it to put on this hard skin
& be who I have become from what I escaped from.


So long gone was I that when, at long last, I sat
up & took advice, I saw it whiten in a bourgeois
kind of way, my wanting to be washed of coming
& going, free to sail my sheet beyond Shanghai
if I longed to, to be rich―or indigent in the pitch
of a doorway or an arch (but knew I had to march
long, hadn't yet arrived, full-bodied or deprived).
& now I have to adjust: The last stab is hardest.

John Vieira currently divides his time between Washington, DC and New York City. Recent work includes a full-length collection of poems, 60 Tomatoes (Bookgirl, 2011), and the artist's book Tap Routines Done Barefoot (The Runaway Spoon, 2012).
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