Rodney Koeneke – A History of my BART Ticket

Rodney Koeneke

A History of my BART Ticket

In the dream of suits Jack
Spicer pleads for magic
           with a Tarot card (try
Dangling Man or Fool)
      taped to his ass.
Rainbow in Cup, or brandy

             or blood call it Words
to Jam These Signals
         call it
White Rabbit in

call it failure call
it Grail.

Powell Street
I have no propositions. Only Magick
           & Tarot cards

The word spoke at Creation
           is written between the lines

                       in invisible ink, in space
                       we don’t know how
                       to find.

A ghost is the idea of space
a quiet assertion
             of existence
like shivers,
             like your breath.

Angels and demons work
the same way: breath on glass,
            blessing or curse.

Magic is indifferent to heaven
as it is to spilled salt,
mirrors and words:

                    Arise and walk.
                         Be gone.

Civic Center
The lines of force
caked over with buildings, words—
             At the gold dome (Willie’s)
                        light gets through

The pigs of Gerasa are a dream
of order. Some people would run
             with the pigs.
This was the trouble
with the 20th century.

Hitler. Cancer. Hard-
                   wired for order,
                         can’t take it any

Mission & 16th
You speak to me of chemotherapy
            as if it were
a whore you just
woke up with and realized
            there’s not
any money to pay
and she’s gone
and taken your keys & a bite
from your doughnuts, & hair.

Mission & 24th
I still think about dis-
ease. How little it’s known, how ill-
             equipped we

might have thought that suffering’s
            a law
            but it’s a star
                        inside ourselves
            so deep
            so cool
                                    it burns.

I think about death
with the flag at ½ mast twenty-
             four hours a day
over the neat white rows of soldiers’
Does anyone die for ideas?
             Did they?

They’ve found their dream of order
here. We scoff at abstractions
                        but laugh
            at incarnation.

No magic
      but in things—
                        a ghost exhausted

                        into skin

A knock at the heart
A push on the lids
                of white graves.

return to SHAMPOO 28