Dan Kraines

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Dan Kraines


I eat pain au chocolat
with my coffee at Odd Fox.

Staring, I think of the overcast sky,
ready to break into rain;

through the window of the café, an ice cream
truck stations itself against the curb; a vanilla

cone painted against its side with a smile
squiggled in red across its white middle.

There was underneath our vitriol sweetness:
I know that your ego gushes from hurt.

The wood table, like a raft,
makes me feel that there is no way I am lost—

If I loved harder, loved real,
wouldn’t I be moving after you

whisking myself through the Louvre.
Manet made a shock with a courtesan’s

dirty feet: I think of you
when I think of Olympia’s thighs.

Treat me like the courtesan, lounging
across the bed with an oleander behind my ear.

What can Paris return to you?
To go and describe the death drive of needing

to enter back into the womb before you ruin
yourself; what I want to follow is

the trail back out from my gut to before the cut.
Now that you are on the other side of the Atlantic,

I talk to myself. I write.
Hold onto your brokenness, you said:

what a poet has.
The little flakes of pastry on the plate

I press against my finger.
And stick it in my mouth.

Dan Kraines reads “Louvre”


Parade de Cirque

I think of you, hard, as if I were sucking
an orange. My teeth sunk in.

I remember you finding me, at MoMA,
saying my name and hugging me gently;

then, the torrential swirl of violet,
navy, peach, and yellow

pointilating the jester, performing on his wooden stage.
He drew in a crowd with his horn from his penumbra of light.

To be in love with a fantasy is to hang
onto a thought without pain.

I remember the fine hair of your arm;
how you pulled me in to you, slowly.

How portrait after portrait of the Ascension has long,
open hands, like a swell of ocean toward the sky.

Bowl of cherries. Knife through the back of a pear.
Kettle, wine bottle, apricots, vase.

The long hands, you told me, of The Bather
call back to Michelangelo. I had never

had so much room with that painting. I could have cried:
the boy grabbing his waist with his long fingers.

The homely space of Cezanne, you said, had been shocking,
unseen since Dutch masters—

You alone held the keys
to this wild parade.

Girl, waiting for her suitor, looks out the window, endlessly,
and pours her milk.

Dan Kraines reads “Parade de Cirque”


Dan Kraines lives on the Lower East Side and teaches at FIT. You can get Licht, his chapbook, from Seven Kitchens Press. He earned a doctorate in poetics from the University of Rochester. Other poems of his can be found in The Adroit Journal and Epiphany. You can follow him @dan_kraines.