Infinity Bay Metropolis by Laura Butler

Infinity Bay Metropolis



West To East


I roll over the slump in your back

My hand flat and curious

Sitting just like that

You foothill the Cascades

I learn to park the rental at a 45 degree angle

We share a fake secret

I come under your eaves


Dope and microbrew

Schumann on the turntable

Flat, our spines, against the floor

I’ve felt this way before

Crushing out a cigarette

Lighting another you hand it

To me, our first kiss

The night before I leave

We screw in the aural gleam

Of the same turntable

Moon Colony Bloodbath


Significant others signifying blanks

Rolling me along the slant

San Francisco twists

I twist with

Nothing isn’t crooked here


The cryptic saunter of your limbs

Mocks your billowed avenues like a flag

Names of foreign streets arabesque

Unsigned notes by the passenger side glass

You light another cigarette

Hand it to me

Dragging as SFO comes into view

This is my heart’s volume

I say, contriving melodrama

I never mean shit like that

You tell me, not ask me, to come back

Maybe in a month

I extinguish the cig on your dash


The tape decks

You start up again

Trumpeting analog analog

Quavering between drags

About 2’’ analog tape furling

Click magnetic stop

And rest your disappointing right hand

On the gearshift at passenger dropoff

Thanks for the hospitality and the lay

This trip’ll stump me ‘til

We do it again

I’ll call you after the wedding


Your car

Snailing pavement as

My eastbound gull’s pushed off

You’re saddled to the Mission

Your life’s work

Thick hands turning small dials

Your garden where you grow


Infinity bay metropolis dons the clouds

Reaching under me

Infinitely calmed

Swirling a first class mojito with my straw


Chew up a triple dose of clonazepam

In my seat, languid and unshy

Hands and blanket

Deplane and haul the bulky punch of my luggage

To the taxi queue and think

That you couldn’t help it

The slouch

I hope through the fumes that you never feel any pain again


Return to my fickle October

Rattling Chicago’s arteries underwheel

Avondale! Queen Of The Underpass Murals!

I’m back in you and I feel itchy

As the taxi hops off the Kennedy

Eating potholes on Belmont

Getting me home


I go ahead and get married

Take a long nuptial drive through the Southwest

Buy a plane ticket swimming motel WiFi in Tempe

So when it’s next month

I’ll see you again





Call It How You Call It


The red-petaled Chinese Shangri-La

Beestung in the bell jar hundred thousand

You scraped the stinger out

With your credit card

And we both stared at the hole for a sec


You’d been bugging me about Golden Gate Park

I said I didn’t come here to sight see

But, you said, I have to show you

The cloud forest it’s



You belong here

Is a thing you tell me absently as I

Ash my cig into a shot glass at the right of your bed

You think it would be neato if I fled my

Home and husband

For the solemnity of 65 degree beachfucks

We could have every Sunday afternoon

Even in the winter and in the spring

Just imagine it, no?


In the evening, hungry

I sat on your front steps while you made

Quesadillas for the both of us

You cut up an avocado

Knifing out the brown

I ate like a piggy and cheese grease ran down to my chin

Left you through the back before you finished

And sat in the lawn with a spliff

Unlit, just waiting


We’re so small and I’ve come such a short way

Fingers toe around your t-shirt

The greens

The map of your bones

7 twinned lanterns sway

San Francisco on the length of you

I want sea level

The tree line

The Danakil acid swarm blue and lighter blue

You pull a tender waist shape from me

We, rightly, are so small



Tectonic Handshake


I read in a science book when I was a kid that

If you take a chair out and set it in the backyard

And sit real still

You can feel the tectonic plates grinding very

Slow against each other

Making the Earth


I had a math friend calculate for me

The heft of the gravity haul

From Alvarado St. to Sheridan Rd.

She showed me Greek numbers

The pull is negligible

Like an orange pulls a paperclip from the drysink

Or like how it doesn’t


In the back of the science book it said

That experiment with the chair in the grass was

A joke but that the plates really move

It’s why part of Africa looks like part of

South America and then it showed a map

Two grown-up continents bicker over

Who broke up with whom


I don’t think the pull is negligible

The shimmy of this distance sharps, abrades

On a snowy night, freak October

I wonder if you’re wearing a sweater

Over there where it’s said I hardly pull at you

You look nice in slate

And its wiser cousin

I also like you in brown


Your Great Quake vs. My Great Fire

Sounding yellvoice metro-dramas

Even if the cow was put down and

The lintels put down too

That circle with dot in the middle means

Stop Here

Occidental kick, the love I left at the end of the bed

In the sheet tuck

It’s a mattress you found out back

Your dialing thought was bullseye


Smoking a cigarette flat on your alley mattress

You tell me you’re running to Cuba

It’s just

You wanted to say Cuba to the ceiling

It doesn’t matter where you go

I’ll always know you

Wrong, and that’s the OK part

You pull a stray hair off my belly

We think it belongs to the cat


Maybe Nassau first to scope the John B

Maybe Nassau sunlit thumbnail bay

Like anything we trade is more than a myth

Sliding down the neck of the Great Moose

Of Mexico on a sloop of your own paid for

In dollars green and fleeing to the pockets

Of native lathes

You’ve always considered prostitution a charity


San Francisco isn’t good enough for either

Of us anymore

Plates don’t wait, even if they seem so

By the time I’m in Chicago

You’re in Venezuela puddle jumping to

Havana where your green notes joke like sins

In the pockets of your once white leisure

I envy everything about the scene

And order up another when

My house comes into view



Laura Butler



Laura Butler, a lifelong Chicagoan and recent transplant to the Avondale neighborhood, is a poet, fiction writer and musician. She is a veteran of the now defunct 1317 reading series and member of the band Laura Butler and Her Mourners.