If you listen, you can feel
the fat whoosh pounding
beneath fingertips, the ready warmth
of rush-of-red head-
ward from heart: not
ruby-red or glitter-red
like Dorothy’s slippers
but still magic, the way
the machine putters on,
isn’t it? How I can put pen
to paper or make love
with my thumbs by typing
less than 3 or wink or walk
while under it all
I am filled
with the smell of rust, bloodstink,
someone said, like old traintracks
sunk in summer mud,
persistent as hell, as sin; copper-
tinged bleeps on a blank screen :
alphabet soup : pee-kew-ar-ess, an iron-
y bulge-thump of muscle: lub-
dup like the one-legged steps
of my father’s crutches, how
it has nothing to do with love,
after all, and everything, lub-dup,
lub-dup, lub-dup unremarkable
until it is not.
Be. Drunk. Break through the chatter like a wrecking ball through brick. End in silence like stone ruins of a monastery. But fill in the space between with something beautiful, something with long drunk legs and glittery drunk eyeshadow, something with pillow-tossed hair and a bottle in her purse. Something with something to say.
Be drunk, he said, and across the ocean they were dying by the thousands, and how hard it was to break through the chatter of shrapnel, the whirring omnipotent smack of hate. Thirsty to believe in something, they died. In fields and field hospitals and camp beds, died drunk on belief in some Cause while their brothers slump-marched home, hungover.
Still, he seems to say, still, be drunk. Because drunk is home. Because drunk is the exotic furtherest edge of guessing. Because drunk is you asleep in my bed on a Saturday night, turning to clutch me close as you snore somewhere far away, the music always too loud, the pen never far from the page.
can happen in a decade. in a night filled
with spiral-sta(i)red decline. things
to hold on to, in sacred letters tall as a man:
to touch. you should have known
there: tangere, like want. volare, to fly.
i’ve forgotten the past tense.
but only in the wrong tongue. she died.
now that coat hangs hung, like a wish,
starched with thin veins, so much in a decade.
some things you hold against forever.
memoryclamped. what if you could fly then,
glasseyed and steady. beads tight round
white wrist, to want with small fingers.
something many-touched to hang on to
in the night. meant to hold not to cut, meant
to hold not to cut. meant to hold not to cut.
*translations all from the Latin. amaveram is the first-person plusquamperfect tense of amare = I had loved.