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A Short History of Style

Joey Arias at Jackie 60, 1997

The disposition of her arms
Is a case of

Nothing ventured, nothing
Gained. Her violet ear

Makes sense if
Something wicked is

Being said. The angle
Of her nose is a challenge,

A crime against nature. Her
Throat a fine line. Lover

Where have you been?
Mistakes come back to her

Like wrong notes, a clarinet
Of echoes. You can take the boy

Out of Dubuque…Nothing
Like bourbon

To make her sing
A slow tune: downcast

Eyes, hands swaying
Just so. The catch

In her voice like a rusty key
Turned. A hundred

Nights blurred together
Like an ink blot

Smeared—her long fall
Of hair saying No no no.