breaks the pattern of pre-

fixes and suffixes not taking

the stress:

[in-fuh-muhs]

 

which makes me think:

muh-fuhs

as in what you muh-fuhs

lookin at?

 

which could have been an infamous

last question, given

that those muh-fuhs

stared at me all the hard-rockier

 

and took a few steps till I broke

into a shit-teeth grin

saying, aw, go ahead,

look all you like,

 

she—see, they wuz lookin at

us fighting—she and me—and

she—how many witnesses do you need

to call it infamous?—

 

sez, what YOU lookin at

when I look at her

with my scarecrow shrug

while my Greek chorus

 

on the street howls and hoots

waving their tattoos and gang signs

in a patriotic display

and she gets in the car

 

and waits for her last

ride home from me—

we didn’t even finish the fight.

 

An infamous quote can be one

where you predict the future

and you’re dead dry-bone wrong

 

so when I dropped her off and said see

ya later, the door slammed behind her,

whiplashing my words right back at me—

 

where’s the chorus when you need them?

Back on the corner miles away

near the bad movie of our fight—

thumbs down, no stars, bomb, bomb, bomb,

 

or so I imagine, my Bible of Shame

burning in my hands like a bush, talking

in the tongues of the infamous.

Photo by Ant Standring

James Daniels

Jim Daniels’ latest publications are the chapbook, Apology to the Moon (BatCat Press, 2015), Eight Mile High, stories (Michigan State University Press, 2014) and Birth Marks, poems (BOA Editions, 2013). Daniels is the Thomas Stockham Baker University Professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

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