A Rubber Lion

Daniel Poppick



The future resided
In everything, waves cooling
My surface come morning,
And wrecked it never

Circles back, though
That is its flowering action,
Rising again with debris.
Poetry is like the end.

We cut us open and
Said the knives
Were too pretend, the atmosphere
Our second skull.

It opens a like a novel.
Kissing couples in the park
Recede into the tide
And my cats swipe at the anima-

Tronic pigeons dropping
Statuary from behind
The wave’s window; rain in this city
A glass kind of statue. And all

The little creatures vibrate
Over the problem geode
In this pornographic daylight.
I realized this year that that

Was also a source, the angle
Predators strike from,
A fish from below—
The scholar stabs

It like a dictionary, then stabs
It like a person.
What law is at work
Ensuring my own organs remain

Invisible to the Sunday market?
Sprinting through food,
Swimming to an avuncular country
To end up in a foreign square,

Memorials common as acid rain,
The aftermath of Katrina
Is what one might not call
“Nice in the shadow”

As pausing in summer
To drink from a cool vessel
While riding a pantoum-like bull.
I inhale its breath

And a full-blown neurology
Enters my cave, a charge
Circles the ladyslippers.
I step outside to greet it

And a fleet of sand goes aero-
Dynamic under my feet,
Everything I have I leave
To this amnesiac plot

Soaked in its theft, and who’s to say
This is what the personal demands?
Thus paying the electric bill
In an open box of wind—

Cats of the ancient Internet,
You might say I “always already”
Feel them among us here and there,
The Chaplinesque endorphins

Entering the camera like
Lines with their chests
Removed but revived—

Scroll across the flat
White bombadier as it films
All four walls of this
Crysanthemum swagger glass

In which an Orphic anal plug
Regards your surface.
But this is lost on us: no
Staring into bridal time

For those marking its burn
Across my brow as your footfall
Crosses the ceiling,
A cop dropping pollen,

It’s redundant to fear
Technology in a poem, as one
Or the other is like the end.
Thus the real cats crying

As they sense—what else
Do they do in this cramped
Apartment?—the net I speak is
Bankrupt of wind, and when

They can’t adorably murder
All earthly dignity
They know plus one
Crashes on the shore.


Daniel Poppick’s poems have recently appeared in BOMB, Granta, The New Republic, The Volta, Prelude, and elsewhere. His first book, The Police, is forthcoming from Omnidawn in 2017. He lives in Brooklyn, where he co-edits the Catenary Press with Rob Schlegel and Rawaan Alkhatib.