We Are All Sleeping with Our Sneakers On

We Are All Sleeping with Our Sneakers On

This is a poem from Matthew Lippman's latest collection.


You sit in the Dunkin parking lot as you are want to do in solitude.
You steal their internet the way the birds steal the wind.
It’s a day of thievery and spring. The buds blow up green
on the May trees. You want to call them by their names
but you don’t know their names. You know
the name of the establishment with the dark roast coffee and Munchkins.
There is a sign in the parking lot that reads
Parking for Dunkin Donuts only violators will be towed.
I am waiting to be towed.
I am violating the parking lot tarmac.
I am in the parking lot violating the rules of writing this poem
while Daniel Lanois sings his song I Love You on the record player in my car.
His song I Love You is all that matters
because Emmylou Harris sings with him. I love you.
800 times throughout the lines of the parking lot.
And there is a woman on her phone who works here.
She must be doing time on her break. She sits on the curb by the dumpster.
She talks on the phone and I want to make out her words
so they can touch me in the brilliant tress of this early afternoon.
Let me make love to the spring, I say to nothing--and Daniel Lanois--but only when he
harmonizes with Emmylou and vice versa.
This is why parking lots are beautiful.
They are filled with solitude and yellow lines and signs about violators and empty coffee cups
and so much sky
that you can’t help but open up your window and scream out
I love you 800 times
because then you know the parking lot will say it back
and that’s enough to fill up your whole silly spirit
on this cool May day
even though you don’t know the names of the trees
but would be happy to make them up
when the tow driver arrives
and backs up his truck.


Reprinted with permission from Four Way Books. You can learn more about Matthew and his work here.