The sick mind is beautiful and cannot sleep
                   —Allison Benis White

One of my housemates, head to toe in black and with sunglasses for eyes,
returns through our kitchen from a long night walk outside. His bare feet
are black with grime—or is it ink? His filth trail loops and twines
across linoleum like ivy on a stone wall, or the florid visual poetry
of Arabic script.

                          Another housemate wanders our street at twilight, picks
pine cones dropped from the trees he says are littering, organic versions
of Big Mac boxes, Starbucks drink containers, Del Taco Tuesday wrappers;
like a dogged restorer of Rembrandt paintings, he cleans until even dirt
is dirt free, asphalt brought back to a fresh petroleum finish.

                                                                                                 In bed, I toss
and shiver from a chill my mind sneaks under the door. Through blinds,
my neighbor’s patio lights arc, a Golden Gate Bridge of filaments
from balcony to wrought-iron fence, in circles as clear as I wish
my thoughts would become, their golden glow suspended in glass.

Jonathan Yungkans is a Los Angeles-based writer and photographer with an MFA from California State University, Long Beach. His work has appeared in Oyster River Pages, Quiddity, West Texas Literary Review and other publications. His poetry chapbook, Colors the Thorns Draw, was released by Desert Willow Press in August 2001

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