Brooklyn Nights

by Christopher Bacas

On Flatbush Avenue,
the dollar vans squawk and beep,
threading through traffic. Image

City buses stream
rectangles of blue-white light
across the storefronts.

From dim upper floors,
blinds drawn, shadowed, comes music:
brass band with coro.

Tuba burps madly:
a bullfrog virtuoso
looking for lovers.

Beneath an awning,
they sit by a glowing grill,
rain sizzling its lid.

A thick woman prods
the charred corn, whole or sectioned,
smoke twists around her.

In the entrance way,
on a cart, plates, condiments:
mayonnaise and cheese.

Crumbly and chalk white,
cheese sticks to the ears like snow, Image
bound by the Hellman’s

There’s laughter, while the
layered shadows rise and fall
in passing headlights.

Waxed paper figures
climb blurred hills, tumbling across
crests and valleys.

Out of mirrored doors
a man takes the paper plate
his buddy offers.

He keeps the corn dry,
hunching down to strip the cob,
eyes scanning the block;

a gum-splotched sidewalk
between a Chinese take-out
and a bodega.


Left open all night,
a window flung night’s wanderings
across the far wall.

Mercury lights strobe,
passing sub-atomically
through the window frames.

They engulf the plants,
immolating stems and leaves,
which darkness regrows.

On the high bookshelves,
Les Lumieres now present
their innovations.

A double fan’s blades
reverse, widen and relay; Image
hurdling each book spine.

As they finish, some
pulse upward, shattering, some
announce the next short.