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August 3, 2021

Two Poems

Joseph Demes

Tangerine Dream

How to fetishize a decade: “improve”
its -isms, crank them up to a hundred, call this
a cosmopolitan life—it does come with instructions.
What is old can be made new and exciting. See

a silhouette purposely hiding half your face, bare
and unexciting without wet grass and expired film
makeup, a tangerine dream (you have kind-
looking eyes though, and i would ask you to watch

my backpack if i had to use the bathroom at a coffee shop).
Why romanticize this larger mirror,
a black curtain being sold for thousands?
Because it looks good—it belongs to a concept,

a jokey way to acknowledge anything but this: a deadly flat
world for summoning neon demons on my favorite
and best machine, spliff and coffee in hand, wearing the rain.
In the little woods: a green letterbox without a key.


It Has Always Been Far Worse than It Is Now

You can take baths
to escape almost anything.
This week’s home is cold
and off of a lake.
And you can still be an animal
today: city mouse and country mouse,
grazing and creating
city buses in the sky,
a pathological obsession with trying
to minimize every cost possible,
cramming cattle-like in Boeings—
the very American desire
to be in a private pod.
(But I’m a very obsessed man.)
And what was better about it before?
What else is the point of a holiday?
What time period would you prefer to live in?
Which lake, where the lights
only flicker a few times?