Jeff Bagato

Checklist for the Next Whatever

                            All my lifeplans for tomorrow—
                                                making digimaps &
                                      queuing up net flix,
                                                     clicking thru shopping carts
                                  for stuff I won’t see or 
                                                     remember until
                                                                      next week,
                                              making lists 
                   of future destinations,
                                   latter day chores:
                                        who I should call,
                                                            what food I could
                                            eat if only I hit the 
                             grocery store to carry
                                              out the fuel
                                     of a future

                                all my plans for tmw & 
                                                for tmw’s tomorrow
                        & the days I
                                      may not live to
                             see, waking up late
                   & finally checking it
                                             so now I can

                                      if I

Seasons of Flight

                                           Walking out
                                   Happy San Market with
                         bricks of cheese
                                              building up 
                                       my safety basket—
                            I will live on this
                                          for days—
                                                          and too,
                       the good feeling of nourishment
                                              as Jeaneatta turns back
                                       time so I can lunch
                              Odwalla on the cheap

                                                      How do I catch 
                         a beautiful November day 
                                                when the breeze
                                         presses cold hands
                                on my hands &
                                                 the love from knit
                                     hat, corduroys & jean
                                                     jacket feels so much
                                           like a feather fluffed 
                                                             against the world,
                               as the blue sky opens
                                                up, opens up for the
                                         wing so calmly
                                  quickly lifted 
                                              on the wind?

Springtime Effigies

                                  Che on a t-shirt
                                         stares out with 
                              a confident,
                                                  air, a man
                        who knew where he 
                                                    was going &
                                   he had been,
                                                        cigar held firm
                                           between strong teeth
                              to point the way
             & punctuate guidance,
                                     philosophically alight

                                   thus Che moves
                                                down a brickwork 
                                      in a city he never knew
                                                  except as a metaphor,
                               an emerald Babylon
                                                                of wholly gee,
                                             where the trees are
                                    green & magnolias bloom
                  & the girls wear smooth
                                                fabric tight on generous 
                          curves, their pants
                                      alive & mesmerizing

                            Abe Lincoln rides
               by on a bus, gripping
                                         armrests on his throne
                                & holding back all 
                                                         the wounds, to
                                              silently speechify:

                     “I been lookin’
                                       for you all over,
                              where you been?
                     What size pants do
                                         you wear?
            Are you pregnant?
                              Are you sure?
                                             I told you to stop
                                 eatin’ that soup,
                         I told you!”

                                                  Che never shakes
                                     the ashes from
                                                               his cigar;
                                           Abe can’t relax;
                            this city never weeps

Jeff Bagato is a writer, musician and street artist living near Washington, DC. Some of his poetry has appeared in Otoliths, Zombie Logic Review, Full of Crow, Exquisite Corpse, Chiron Review, Shattered Wig Review, and Open 24 Hours. His most recent book of poetry, Savage Magic, came out this year. Other poetry books include And the Trillions, Spells of Coming Day, and Latest Headlines. He has also published several novels, including The Toothpick Fairy and Computing Angels. A blog about his writing and publishing efforts can be found at http://jeffbagato.wordpress.com.
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