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August 13, 2014 | Poetry

2 Poems

Jess L. Bryant

2 Poems photo

I am but a fitful tailor

I.

It is something like a nuisance that you exist. But I have headphones to help ignore
your incessant restructuring of shoelaces on polished black leather bullshit.

Have you lived here long?
          Lived where, behind territory lines?

It is the indelible that I have forgotten that makes my mind wander.

And I stare at corners to find cracks in behavior.
          And I stare cornered.

Did you find the letter I left under the dirty laundry?
          Dear Perspective, Feel it up.

Or was it something else, like a tissue I folded into squares?

If I wake to you at the edge of my bed, how should I feel?
The crosses you drew in black marker on the glass couldn’t provide stability,
And witch wars were only the beginning.

Have you seen Moulin Rouge?

I would like to, again with you, cross-legged on the floor over blankets,
not under, because intimacy is not juxtaposed with anything, except absence.

And what is it, the black book I can’t remember?
          Who was the goddess on the cover?
                    Who did you fuck last night?
                              They all like being dominated.

It was the one with the apartment in Soho.

I can pay you back now in a pack of cigarettes for listening. 

 

II. 

Between my fingers rolling papers
from Bali Shag leave shavings
of tobacco. I saw you meditating
in your room and fell in love
with you, boy love, between
boy and boy. I was using
graphite, crackers split
my hands into portions, I gave
you all that I had. See, this
is what it means to be
poor; some days it was fuck it,
let’s go to sunshine theater, sit
in the back row and evaluate
what Synecdoche means
in duality. I never rubbed
my hands through your hair
and didn’t want to. All that is
left are snippets, slightly
balding spots of curls.
This isn’t romance, it is the time I felt
like Jesus, fully man.  And you
were Atlas.  But after parking
my car, I couldn’t find
your breasts. In paralysis
I watched you seize, caught between
twitching eyelids, I lost faith
in mental process, delayed
response to convulsion
and submitted to allow my knees
to raw on concrete,
To see organs divided
with precision. I sewed
them together like a toddler.
I watched the filament break.

 

Waterboarding


Pirouettes are for strangers
we dredge on carpet
play records to feel important
god do you ramble
and sometimes I want to
I mean really kill you.

Let me explain:
Split seams down your legs
where your pants rub
hard against your skin
tape re-chord the
way that your speech
slips out through
the space where 
your tongue
slides between your teeth
and pull out before
you come
to decide I’ve taken
this too
literally fill your
lungs with remorse
or water
whichever
is quicker.

 

image: Tara Wray


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