Business Tripping by James Payne

by Keep This Bag Away From Children

8:55 a.m.

Columbus to Pittsburgh,
Pittsburgh to Toronto,
Toronto to see Laura and Justine
(Justine’s interviewing at York)
and Ms. Lisette Bornay-Ackley,
a compulsive liar from study abroad,
who one knew better via her fantasias
than one knew others via fact;
we’ll stay in her flat,
with its rooftop
topped by rooftop,
defaced by condos,
paved over by parking lots,
everywhere there’s condos,
and on the street:

We go inside,
one by one,
to buy
codeine and caffeine
rolled into one.

We call it “Children’s Ecstasy,”
or sometimes “Roman Coke,”
or they boil it down
and cops call it “smack.”
We sell it off,
call it “rent,”
go to Kroger,
call it “food,”
other people
call it “making a living,”
or they would if they knew.

200 caps for C$15,
500 for C$30,
200 flip to $250,
500 gets as much as $625;
we each buy all our migraines can take –
plus cà phê đá to go –
cram pills in this gutted hardback,
G.W. Leibniz’s Monadology, and

pack it in an parcel penciled so:

Lily Chang
57 E. Gay St. 2nd Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

Then to Postes Canada,
OCAD, This Ain’t the Rosedale Library,
and Lisette’s for dinner,
served with the following topics to consider:

Gallery proposals, lovers, and old friends,
a new cobbler, renewed boots, and a jacket still to mend;
chambray – almonds and edamame,
beluga lentils with a fresh smattering of op-eds,
intradepartmental intrigue, and “You should think about writing a grant instead.”

Paired with EBT wine varietals
red, white, and not made right,
it’s something of an early night.

Breakfast long past dawn,
poached eggs, red hash and that
(Lisette cooked for Monsieur in Neuilly-sur-Seine)
then we’re off to bus again.

Bye Laura and Justine.
Bye codeine and caffeine.

Hello Megabus.
Now back to Columbus.




James Payne is a poet and curator living in Columbus, Ohio. He can be found at BANALIZATION.