Dream With Empty Pockets
We're face to face on the banks
of a dried out lake, a letter
in your upturned palms. You tell me
to take it, but each time I try,
it melts into your wrist at the spot
where the blood beats loudest.
You turn your pockets inside out
and show me my name, sharpied
on the cloth lining. Every hour
on the hour a tour group leaves
to explore the dusty basin:
strangers, masts of ships,
rotted wood, fossilized bones
of unidentified fish.
I don't want to peel the carrots or wash
the knife or write poems anymore about
how he fucked me or wronged me or stole
my book about heartache and Mallarmé
and the muteness of the body. I don't want
to pluck the stray hairs between my eyebrows
or wait a reasonable amount of time to write
him back or lather the conditioner into my
scalp while I think I hate myself I hate myself
I hate myself like the little engine that could.
My new book says you cannot stop thinking
even if you think you can. I think I can write
to this new guy. He's a 92% match & likes
Judith Butler & bacon wrapped dates & has
a pretty good grasp of syntax. Am I a snob?
I'm sick of making these little well-behaved
poems that sit and eat and shit and talk and
fuck at all the right times. At parties I tell
the same story: how he dumped me on the last
day of our Parisian vacation and played Angry
Birds on the plane ride home. I stared down
at the clouds until they were no longer clouds.
I couldn't say what love is anymore but could
use the word love in a poem and really mean it.
I'm mean sometimes, I'll admit it. I press my face
against the window just to feel its voicelessness.
Across the street the leaves on the tree turn at once
in the wind like a school of fish, and I think how
everything shifts, how he flipped onto his back
in his sleep, how the light touched our bodies until
our bodies were no longer there to be touched.
How to Behave Like an Adult
First, build a wall.
Any material will do:
brick, salt, cake, flesh.
Now, sit on one side
and think about what you have done.
Patrick Dundon is currently an MFA candidate at Syracuse University where he serves as editor-in-chief for Salt Hill Journal. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in BOAAT, Sixth Finch, The Adroit Journal, DIAGRAM, Smoking Glue Gun, Poor Claudia and elsewhere.