Poem of the Day

San Francisco Poet Laureate Emerita Kim Shuck is curating a Poem of the Day with San Francisco Public Library for every day during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check back daily for a new poetic offering from assorted local poets or view the archive of previous day's poems.


by Mark States   © 5/12/2019


you comb the night/ 'cause you're the cruiser/ you never get enough/ when you're cruising down the street/and taking off the heat/ when you're on the moonlight run
~ The Cars, “Cruiser”

Swipe the keycard
Lock flashes green
Open the door
But the alarm stays asleep
Lights off
not a peep or a beep

Where’s the reception, where’s the audio
Where’s the perception anyone else is here?

Flip the switches
Check the fax
Hit the bathroom out in the back
Log in and time punch the clock
43 new emails
2 new voicemails
Yesterday’s task reminders need to be snoozed again
Fetch the overnight lockbox key
Shut the cluttered desk drawer
Pass the pillar
Reach the front desk

And there she is, crumpled like paper
Face on keyboard
Forearm over forehead
In glitter and shadow behind the counter
Several hours after sunrise
Telephone softly ringing its lullaby

She combed the night
But her hair is such a car wreck
The limousine stretches, the engine hood yawns
The tires are tired of turning
And brake themselves
Back to sleep back to dreaming the beat
Party animal
Swinging from the rearview mirror

She won the moonlight run
But now flag is down
For the cheddar chase.


View Mark States' work in the Library catalog