On Social Mirages

In winter sun

the cars’ shadows

jump alongside

and veer up into your

lane but let’s not

trace the whole freeway!

after the rise

of the overpass

mirages that

persist get pretty

boring to explain

or practice:

how, in the act

of using it up

can you ask

if it’s any use

anymore? when


is talking again,

who does the walking?

montage guy,

putting in a word

like calling it a utility bike

as a way of sneering

at the desire to ever get


veering into your crowd

of recognizables,

what you’d call

your lane, lit

by winter sun

at angles, fast.

Against the Moment

A parallel feeling? Doesn’t sound so terrible but then

some of us know how to modulate

the chest cavity? Pops

in and out of alignment

with earth and trees? Not my fault

we live in a country where touches don’t meet

and have no need for traffic circles

on our way from crystal into conifer

so when we make paths they double

up like tiny pine-

needle refrains, choruses

of bobby pins. You have my permission

to splash your face and forget them.

Not that you’d ever need it, it’s

gratuitous, hats off, little

fingers up in the air, an ever

more unlandable plane booming

out its shyness

as am I

apparently? Ugh. The rest is history,

the lickable kind. Look for me there

resisting the national pastime, passing

out under the eglantine.

Some other time

we’re touch and go

and hardly recognizable,

though truth be told your expression hasn’t changed.

If you felt like tickling the void, though,

well, we could start anywhere.

How soon?

Her Song

Missing a city for her sins

Venus of the cowboy songs

reads of the lost cities

how were they lost? in wheels in wheels?

and what comes after cowboy songs?

No development. Quiet quitting.

Try not to give a rat’s ass

out in the August-white basalt

and oatstraw west. This passing gesture

city, pink, deciduous, rambling

where you hear her sing:

All the while been a patient of signals

All the while been a prisoner of emeralds

It’s how I arrived at the gulches of roses

It’s how I perish the thought

All the while and shake the vine

Bake the cabbage I wanted you

To know me by for all this while

It’s how I leave a trail

of perfect emeralds

no I didn’t

I can’t decide about thought and health

I’d rather be burlesque

spiral into friskiness

and what comes after cowboy songs?

me, Venus of the cowboy songs

takin’ a free ride

here on the world’s only naturally occurring railroad

like a young skunk in an old tire

Effective Venus of the skunk

Affected lady of sufficient cause, rose madder

attar and planned skin glow

Somebody open a window

For all of life preparing a sniff

Been ready to climb out all this while

Lists of flowers don’t mind me

It’s how I prepare a dehydrated grove

Before and in advance of fire

How much they mind me standing around

It’s how I chop the day “up”

Not a comment on how we hold ourselves


Isn’t this a neat wreck anymore

It’s carefree when the windows meet the water

In the headlights

In my song

Sam Lohmann lives in Vancouver, Washington, and works as an academic librarian. He is the author of several books and chapbooks including Stand on this picnic bench and look north (Publication Studio, 2011) and Unless As Stone Is (eth press, 2014); poems have appeared recently in the magazine Luigi Ten Co. He is a co-organizer of the long-running Spare Room reading series in Portland.