North By Northwest 
Daniel Poppick

The line between poetry and cigarettes
Is like the line between frames in a film
Or the line between mouth and script
One always crossing the other

Line by line he makes his way
Blue lines, white lines, brown lines, gray
The line a costume cloaking his tongue
The line of that suit as it hangs off this man

A line of attack and a line of flight
By plane or train, wilderness lines
The velocity of escape you trace in a line
As a building lines the space it shades

An actor’s body emitting lines
Washington’s stone face glaring through pines
The line you smoke in lines of smoke
The line you strike on lines to light it

Daniel Poppick is the author of two books, Fear of Description (Penguin, 2019) and The Police (Omnidawn, 2017), and he lives in Brooklyn.

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