Airport, Watching People

I banged my knee on the metal cup
holder hanging off         the end
of a bench of chairs, chewed up gum
wrapped at the bottom, stuffed back
in its foil stick, without a drink.

On the rough shallow carpet
in flight underneath holding pattern shoes
bags footsteps like
swirls of calligraphy spilled ink
and squares of analog
TV tuned to please stand by for florals,
I scraped my knees pulling belt keys coins
chain from my backpack. I lost my eyes
in the downcast chaos, did not smell potent
violence In security scanners, did not hear
landings or departings, and I squeezed my knees
in, in metal people holders hanging out
at the end of the city spruced up port of call
wrapped in hallways without exits. Locked
knees black, brown, white, traveling, Jackson Pollock
dripping natural earth bombs over graph paper, losing his eye and leading ordered marches through city blocks, smelling violence in daily
exercises, in wind-launched litter, in air conditioning, in handcuffs, hands on knees knocking to the eagles
of democracy-scrapped talons over tender
canvas analyzing with freedom-picking

eyes. I’m not looking
past their knees.

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 22

Published by

Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a fiction writer and poet, with his first published poem forthcoming later in 2017 from Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), his (@richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).