A poem wants me writing it
a bad-ass dancer of a poem
a cool boy that can look good in sunglasses
but he insists he’s all pyrrhic feet
toes akimbo and not one stress among ‘em.
My boy don’t believe in stress.
(when the in the of the or the though)
But my hands are still luke-warm
and my bones aren’t ready for the soup
at least I hope has me not
so every line finds some emphasumph
and cool boy tosses down his cigarette
and finds someone else to fuck.
Tunes and truths tell he’s gone away
but I follow him, and leave songs and truth behind me
he prefers to travel light
worn out shoes and worn out ideas and worn leather jacket I found in dad’s closet
I like crowds with purpose
but my poem just jostles for the contact
shoulders rub and laughter comes from somewhere behind me.
I try to grasp his beltloop, to keep track of him,
but even when I rub the paper between my fingers I lose my grip.
cool boy with the cold dead feet takes his toe-tags with him
and I’m stuck in this dumb people pudding.
It happens night after night
he comes, and I rub my cotton-eyed face,
still uncertain I made it home the night before
and he looks me in the eye like
an ampersand, all full on both sides.
I know there must be light in the counters
because people make sense of their drink orders
he’s holding a glass
but only when he needs it
and I never saw him pay
he doesn’t dance, not with those feet
but he does move
Some people fall on the beat
and some people syncopate
and I jerk off like a puppet
but he moves on every beat, and the ones between
and all the ones between
a smooth analog second hand keeping time
only in relation to marks on the face of the afternoon
never pausing himself
rolling past the whole ticktocking stage set.
I think the band keeps time with their fingers
and the drummer closes his eyes
to defend their senses from mister analog
my monotone boy.
Hell, I know they do.
I do it too. Every metaphor is a sorry shield
a mirror between me and my medusa
He was born stone-faced, of course,
but he’ll never get cancer, no matter how many cigarettes
and when I look him in the face it’s all on me
he only lets me get that close when he knows I’m naked,
and I try to scramble for a pen
to write down that my teeth are hollow
filled with sore pink flesh
to scream that I can feel the sharp edges and push my tongue up inside
to shiver and cry in the shit-stinking terror of it
so that even he seems phased, or maybe I just looked so hard
he seems to pause while the image fades
my vision more persistent than I want to be.
I’m afraid of him, most nights
afraid of his dead feet and those hollow teeth
and the sea-things that live inside them
I guess he still goes to parties
I hear he’s a fury now
but when I go to the bars,
he’s never there
no, nor his mysterious drink
and I babble
and nobody listens
that maybe a poem wanted me once.