To Marquees by Jeff Nagy

Love, as momentary as a bird in the subway
is never the same model, shapeless, pitifully
subjected to the student’s industry, punishing
capital Love as there are bathrooms but we’ve forgot

the key in our haste to use them: it’s Love
and so it must be. Like a grate in your mouth:
Closed for business. I’m glad to begin that both

are as judgmental in Love. It grates in the mouth
like broken French take the I out
and it gets bitter, not better. 
“Fucking is the lyricism of the lumpenprole

in short pants,” Baudelaire reminds us
from his bench in the Hotel Lautréamont’s
hotel restaurant. “Not love, but fucking lyricism

is the poet-in-short-pant’s French.”
My Uncle Wally thought something similar
but could just manage: “The solar chariot is junk.” 
A train comes up the track like a lipstick

called Love, smearing its knotted limbs
against the tunnel walls, as if drawing after all
involved no intervening idea. All the great trains came up

in the age that broke the French. The train told
its joke one further down the line, not caring
that we could still hear, like an orbit that holds
without really meaning it. The A train comes up

at last like Diogenes with his lantern
shoulder-high, a familiar owl, a night-owl
frowning at Love’s roses like a number came up.