Poems of the Week

FIVE POEMS BY ERIC DUENEZ, a former Indiana University SB student.

Cop on Dope

Anyone sober
or slightly high,
anyone not

in a coma
could tell you that
I’m a cop.

I’m undercover and
my beard is my beard.
My disguise is that

I’m high and I’m high
and have you ever tried to buy
when you’re a cop on the sly.

It stings a little when
you’re on a sting and the needle
tears a hole that stings and the sun

in my eyes stings
and the voice of my wife
stings and everything tastes like . . .

Cop on Dope

Man to man.
Don’t lie to me.
you’re going to

Jail. What’s this?
What do we have here?
Do you know why I pulled you over?

No, not your skin, not
The swerving in your own lane, not
The busted taillight, I

Said, I said to myself—
This guy. This is
The guy. That’s him.

Speed Trap

The world rushes by
And when the world
rushes by too fast

I am here to say,

slow down,
what’s the hurry.
It’s you

I’m letting go
with a warning
this time.

Cop on Dope

I watched one
Colored kid
Shoot another

When it’s done
He scrambles off
Into one of the late
Models and disappears.

Some concerned bystanders
Hurry to the fallen
Like faithful dogs, like battle-
Field priests eliciting tired

Confessions and the kid whispers
And we all lean in like he was
A map to some buried
Treasure under so much flesh:

The world with its shovels poised.
But he grows lighter
Like the bricks of bundled snow
Kept in evidence.

Sometimes I throw bottles against
The bricks and sometimes the bricks
Break, too, but nobody talks
About that.

So this kid has a bullet
In his face and a bullet
In his chest and he says,
“Forget it,” and he don’t

Look so good. And nobody’s
There to help. And my day’s
Gone to shit. The only way
To get somebody here in time is

If I draw my piece and place it to my side
And break this hollowed ground
And as my world collapses under its own weight,
I manage to let dispatch know

There’s an officer down.

Cherries and Blueberries

Sometimes my own light makes me paranoid.
The ones from passing cars spark the reflective surface of mine
Like a fish flashing briefly from the murk.
I will shine another in your eye.
The dark lens, in which you view the dark world, contracts.
We dilate on where exactly have you been and what exactly
Have you done.
I stand too close to your open window so that my golden badge
Seems like the last surviving star in the empty expanse so
Often mistaken for a canvas capable of exuding life or
Anything of interest.
If I took my gun and fired into the sky, the only thing I’d ever hit,
With the right wind, is you or me.
But to see you now, wishing on the pointed star pinned to my
Chest, it is enough.
Here’s your license.
Have a nice night.

*all from Cops on Dope, 2012. Available on Lulu.com here.

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