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Map to the Stars

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A Schwinn-ride away: Eagledale Plaza. Shopping strip of busted
walkways, crooked parking spaces nicked like the lines
on the sides of somebody’s mom-barbered head. Anchored
by the Piccadilly disco, where a shootout was guaranteed every
weekend, those gun claps: coughing stars shot from sideways
guns shiny enough to light the way for anyone willing to keep
a head up long enough to see. Not me. I bought the Star Map
Shirt for 15¢ at the Value Village next to the Piccadilly during
the daytime. The shirt was polyester with flyaway collars,
outlined in the forgotten astronomies of disco. The shirt’s
washed-out points of light: arranged in horse & hero shapes
& I rocked it in places neither horse nor hero hung out.
Polyester is made from polyethylene & catches fire easily
like wings near a thrift store sun. Polyethylene, used in shampoo
bottles, gun cases, & those grocery sacks skidding like upended
stars across the parking lot. There are more kinds of stars
in this universe than salt granules on drive-thru fries. Too many
stars, lessening & swelling with each pedal pump away from
the Value Village as the electric billboard above flashes first
one dui attorney, then another who speaks Spanish so the sky
above is constantly chattering, like the biggest disco ball ever.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2012)

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This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

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Map to the Stars

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