Steven Breyak is a poet and fiction writer currently living in Japan.
He earned his MFA from Emerson College last year. His most
recent works appear in Night Train, Word Riot and Tattoo Highway.
His earlier work has appeared in Button, Poetry Motel, Values
, and Our Time is Now.

Newthink: Small

Every thing's gotten smaller.
It's the age of the small.
Tiny men are in my phone
and on my email in their tiny way
paying big attention, ready to send
very large men pouring through my window
to remove me to a tiny undisclosed location.

All of this to build tiny hopes and tiny fears
in all of us: tiny thoughts of winning;
of this being some kind of game; of being
on the right side; of being on the right side and winning.

It Looks Like She's Laughing But That's the Stroke

She doesn't say much anymore. Instead
everything talks for her. It's just the puppeteer
is a novice, maybe a child, I don't know.
All I see is the fish-line tug-tugging
every tired joint. Her head does a jitter-dance
like a trout against the stream. Just where's the stream?
Where's the story? The performance last hours
and this is all we get: a dance and no song.
Six dances really, done all at once
in the mover's mind but the strings won't do what their told.

Without a story, is there meaning? Dreams,
they say, are nothing but stream cleaning,
though even they have narrative. I try to learn
to appreciate her form. I can't help but someday be moved.

Late-Stage Freedom (Caveat Ethos)

I want to hold a duck a live duck
in the palm of one of my hands
either hand is okay though I prefer
the left and I don't want it to be forced
or tame or drugged or especially dead
I want a wild duck to rest its balsa wood body
(no decoys please) in my left palm
of its own freewill if such and animal
can possess freewill otherwise by chance
of course we can can take measures
to limit chance but nothing dealing with the duck
or the natural unspoiled setting in which this event
will take place and please do not tell me
what these measures will be I don't want to know
I don't even want to know when it will happen
(though I expect soon) I simply want to find myself
unexpectedly in whatever wilderness
(Alaska or something like that) with this duck
(a Mandarian) in my bare left hand. How much?

Drive The Retirement

Who was that man always driving in those commercials?
What was his story? Why the sunglasses? Why the always
dark interior? Was he hiding? Did the car companies
hound him, hoping for a glimpse of his travels
in the most exotic locations? How many times did he change
make and model, only to be found by the right people?

Sometimes it must have felt like he wasn't running at all,
but trapped in some exploit: the same serpentine roads
always seemed the only way out; the same beautiful cars,
like rested steeds, always at the ready for his mock escape.

Where is he now that we've grown tired of this chase? Now
that hybrid cars cruise through city streets with actors
acting like they're not driving? Filmed from the inside: complaisant.
Is he disappointed at having never been caught? Does he tell
his grandchildren about a time when driving was driving,
a time in his life when all he did was move forward as fast

and graceful as rivers once moved, knowing (but not noticing)
that the world was always just outside as he raced past?
And do they laugh on their drives home, for the cameras in the dash
and the less but same exhaust inspiring a new generation?

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