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August 4, 2014 | Poetry

2 Poems

Lucian Mattison

2 Poems photo

MFA 

Reclined on an alpaca rug, I don’t see
past my fingertips. A sad outline blows smoke
rings toward a rental’s ceiling, composes series
of odes to omnisexual barflies, canticles
meditating on a cricket that lives in the cornice
of my dining room—the poor little ticker,
protesting its heart out, probably starving.
Who else will entertain this philosophical grabass?
On whose bill? How foppish is this bug,
verdant suit, buttressed legs he rubs together
in song, too often, worrying inseams.
His color sticks reluctantly to exoskeleton.
Watch those legs grind down like pencil lead—
How lording over a single room in a house,
much too large, is like trying to hold a column
of cigarette ash between two fingers.
Indeed, it seemed one long worry, my friend,
but it crumbles; the real worry is.

 

Circumambient

Today she appears in a blue mantle,
knitted white stars all over her sweater.

She grips a lamppost while on her phone,
unconsciously paces circles around the pole

as if yoked in a gin gang—Arm a radius,
body endlessly turning inward.

For a half hour, I watch her pulled
by her core, weight held to her ear,

impossibly massive, and I’m reminded
of wanting someone with my whole being

the way I could when I was younger—
From a distance, never exchanging a word

with my desire. I still have yet to break
from this world of watching,

how the expanse of dead air in front of me
is actually the distending of my own chest,

distance between people more
a measurement of how small our worlds are.

And today I watch, kid again,
trying to disappear with someone

into imagined space,
a telephone receiver, her mouth,

labyrinth of her ear. I imagine her
walking into my bedroom—Drunk

between her legs, the whole world
the same temperature; we are tenon

fit into mortise, wearing each other’s
wordless skins through sleep.

The morning watches her dress
in the cold just beyond the covers.

I place myself ear to the locked front door,
listen to her heels strike the staircase

as she leaves, her phantom
sighs lingering over the mattress.

Returning to bed, I peel back another
layer of myself, reflexive glue

that dries transparent. I can’t help
but think I’ve been drinking

from this type of woman ever since I slipped
the womb, hit ground, and hoisted

up the whole earth
when standing that first time—My planet

of a head pulled by its iron core, loving
those I keep only close enough to steal me

into orbit. It’s clockwork, my desire
to be this dumb object for a woman,

lamppost leading enchuflas, dipping her
into a stream of familiar words,

through a dark hallway, and sinking
with her in a warm bed—How maybe

it’s not the idea of intimacy, but dedication
to only one person that let’s me know

nobody wishes to be a moon
slipping out of a planet’s clutches,

inches farther away with each passing year.
The longer I watch this woman,

the more I find myself wanting
to open my apartment window, ask her

if it’s possible to exist in two places at once,
maintain love in just the idea

of the other. And think, if she would
answer me, I could try to tell her

I’m the one she truly longs to be with
and away from at once—Boson

to her fermion, theories of one another
linked like shadows that stretch

outward, commingling in a dream.
I can almost hear my voice

on the other end of her phone,
our bodies separated by volumes

of cislunar space, heads binary
objects dependent on our distance,

ears strung through the middle
by an invisible cord, unspooling.

 

image: Jac Jemc


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