Not long ago

itís a taxi

when the driver

says which way

do you feel

like taking

I say you sadsack


cunt I snort it

to be honest

itís a red eye

meant for Florida

to toast Lisa

itís American

Airlines a gift

to the corporate

shill in the mirror

for my birthday

& us flooring

past Dutch Kills

(I have no idea

what the town

is like to live in    

but it made me

think my people

mustíve been

assassins, spies

or honestly

itís another hole

probably named

for butchers

slash thieves

with goatees

& epaulets

who struck rich

from beaver kill

& pelt sales)

when I tell him

Iím poems

for a living

& god sent

me to die

in the backstreets

because yes

the argument is

thereís still America

we havenít found

yet in America

he says you mean

youíre telling me

thereís a book

you can get out

of this death trap

furthermore kid

you look like a guy

who hates sweat

but itís the dead

of red August

& I canít help

but notice kid

youíre flying

he shouts this



my profession

not that you

asked he

says itís nice

but the poor life

itís starting

to get to me

you got any

smokes he says

I knew a girl

survived two years

erotic dancing

in this absinthe

lounge he

shouts it like this


it was my life

Iíd do a Woody

Guthrie hobo

routine he says

& hopping them

box cars

I want to scrape

your mustache

off I tell him

& run your belly

through with

a trench knife

next I wear

your skin into

the terminal

next I flee

to the bread belt

you look like

a man I canít help

but notice whoíd

make a good

disguise & no one

will question me

another sadsack

malingering white

trash marauder

with a social

security number

his mustache

it twitches once

like a beetle

he says remember

when you leave

the city kid

you still have to go

live in America


Danniel Schoonebeek is the author of American Barricade. His work has appeared in Poetry, Tin House, Boston Review, Fence, BOMB, Iowa Review, jubilat, and elsewhere. He is the editor of the PEN Poetry Series and hosts the Hatchet Job reading series in Brooklyn. In 2015, Poor Claudia will release his second book, a travelogue called Cíest la guerre