Magic City Ruse

Ariel Francisco

Miami Beach burns with the insatiable
ego of a galaxy, bright enough to refuse
admittance to any stars in the night sky. 

I walk its neoned grid, past hotels 
and restaurants, sidewalk cafés that pulse 
with radioactivity like the lanes 

of a pinball machine, or a Twilight Zone 
town that’s stuck in Christmas time, 
crowds made up of everyone 

I’ve ever hated, talking too loudly 
or stepping on my shoes, or both 
as I trudge to a poetry reading. 

Awful music spews into the street 
and I think this is how whales must feel 
about sonar, how it drives them 

crazy enough to try to defy evolution 
and crawl onto land, though not crazy 
enough to beach themselves here. 

To distract myself, I search for the motel 
from Scarface, where Tony escapes 
with the blood of his chainsawed friend 

splattered all over him in a drop top 
speeding down Ocean Drive.
Tony, dead facedown in his living 

room fountain, like Gatsby 
laid out poolside.  What is it 
with dreamers dying bloody 

by the water? Crossing 13th 
I’m almost run over by a Ferrari, 
red as the stop sign it ignored. 

I take solace in the fact that scientists 
believe Miami will soon be swallowed 
by the Atlantic like a child gulping 

his vegetables whole so he won’t 
have to taste them, and picture 
the neon being extinguished, this stupid 

Ferrari encrusted with shit-colored barnacles. 
The idiot behind the wheel leans 
into the horn, the blare masking 

his curses and mixing with the nonsense 
conversations floating up from the crowded 
sidewalk, the garbage pop blitzing out 

of café speakers, hostesses yelling out 
drink specials in frenzied desperation— 
but beneath all that, I hear another sound 

that trembles from across the street: waves 
pawing at the shore, the ocean mumbling 
its desire for the day that it will drown out 

all the lights and noise for good, 
and let the stars return to this night sky, 
O, let it be soon.  Let it be soon.