Play of the Duende

by Loren Kleinman
for Federico García Lorca


Whatever brings you here
is not real,
but indefinite and infinite space,
not with stars
or even blackness,

something else,
quiet and dying
at the edge of the road.

It’s a fish battling the hook,
or the sound of your heart
pushing an old wheelbarrow.

It might be that you are the hunter
walking through the forest,
crunching twigs
and peeled bark under your feet.

You’re on the hunt
for something unknown.
You want it.

You travel to another world
filled with volcanoes under the sea,
and bathe in the lava,
let it burn its initials on you,
sweat off the old skin,

the skin that keeps imprints
of all the places you lived,
the tables where you ate,
the glasses you held
in your hand

the empty space you’ve slept in,
the cave,
the corner of a bedroom
or the sky over the soaring planes,

the emptiness of the cold air,
wings passing by
at 500 miles per hour.

There Were No Secrets Here

by Loren Kleinman


Long, long, long ago the night was a lost woman. The trees were bone, and heads hit pillows between two worlds made of glass and rubber. You got tangled in thorns and vines. Gum never stuck to shoes. If you looked too long at the sky a hawk dropped you a letter from your future self. Branches were arms, and leaves were breasts. Worms drank milk, and fleas burrowed in silence. The world was as small as a pea. It might as well have disappeared.

Breakable Things

by Loren Kleinman


My kitchen
is the only thing that exists,

one room,
floating up
above New Jersey’s fault lines.

All the things it holds
within its walls
float around me
while I sit at the glass table,
on the wicker chair,
drinking a glass of wine.

The ceiling is its own solar system.

The lights circling
around me like planets,
orbit around my cat.

Day after day,
I sit in my kitchen,
eating, smoking, drinking
alone.

I am the only girl in the world
hiding in cabinets
next to the breakable things.

Words Build Homes Inside My Head

by Loren Kleinman


A family lives here:
husband and wife,
two boys and a girl,
and a dog,
and a cat by the fireplace,
and a man in a face mask,
and a guy beating his head against the wall.

Two boys become butterflies
and the girl, a butch lesbian from Brooklyn
slicks back her hair
with a pencil comb.

The windows become a head,
the wooden frame, a rubber band
that shoots me like a bullet
inside the house
where I’m splayed on the dining room table
my feet against a chopping block.

Out of nowhere, a dragon
burns the house down,
but keeps me cool under his wing.

The sun comes out.

The house is burnt to a crisp
and I look away,

down the block paved with commas
and periods and lots of semi colons,
a couple of vowels perched on trees.

The words come together,
I can almost see them.

Your Love, a Broken Van at the Corner of Oxford and Grove

by Loren Kleinman


Draw a red X
on its side doors.

Tell the neighbors you’re stuck,
tires blown out,
doors rusted,
and handles shot
to shit.

You can’t get back in.

Tell the girl on the side of the road
to stop kicking that ball at the bumper
or you’ll cut her
with your pocket knife.

Take out
the useless crap in the trunk,
the used books,
and the second-hand coffee maker.

Get the lift out
and raise the car.

Jack it up high.
Electrify its misery.

If the engine starts,
you don’t need me anymore.