PARTY LIKE IT’S THE LAST GOOD TIME

Most men can’t handle knowing what they are
Capable of—that the only thing they own of
The lives they stumble through are the long
Nights of plague & quiet that we are pushing
Back against tonight—but me, I love that this
Body is a rental, that, next time around I will
Be the golden lab no one in the neighborhood
Can catch, the froth-gummed one that gives
The slow kids rabies. If a situation calls for it
It wouldn’t be too hard for me to get around
The idea of being some guerrilla god’s boom-
Box, to dedicate my life to it by becoming
The Flesh Czar of its cult of sex & death. I tell
Everyone jellyfishing around the packed living
Room that I will punch any shit eater who wants
Some right in the neck & then give the pig
Eye to the horror show dancing around me—
Blank-eyed grins, a zipper tattooed down
The naked torso of a woman wearing a giant
Parrot head & the librarian I met this morning
At the coffee shop is chicken strutting the room
Diagonally—back & forth—a hush-hush finger
Pressed to his lips. Glitter falls endlessly from
The thumping ceiling & in the falling stardust
I see what deep in my guts I’ve always known—
I am the sum of what I endure & my skull is lined
With sunshine & the bonfire I streak through
In the backyard will purr with cicadas & if we are
Lucky enough to see tomorrow, I will churn dirt
Angels in the National Cemetery because, I am
Righteously, so righteously, focused on going
Onward on this path of delights. There are people
Out there that want you surging with fear, who
Shout, always, again, about the evil, how these days,
There’s a bit of the devil in almost everyone
Around you—the Girl Scouts selling cookies door-
To-door are suicide bombers & only handguns,
Deadbolts & a cache of automatic rifles can save
You. To them I scream big hairy bananas—
In the kitchen the guy holding court says a divine
Warmth gushes through him when he eats babies.
His words are syrup, prayer-like & an end-
Of-the-road blackness is falling upon the kingdom
Behind his eyes. I spread my arms wide, say Come
In close, big guy, then hold him tight, nod to everyone
Else standing there to join in, then whisper that each
One of us will miss his touch, will fondly remember
His stories. Outside, the moonless night is a sauna.
The yawning murk is aflutter with white moths & lightning
Bugs. Under the eaves, every about-to-kiss mouth
Is honeyed with ecstasy, meaningless & moans calamity
Songs. Before I start slipping in & out of the wonders
That simmer through my body, I gather the happy
Barbarians, speak about myself in third person,
Promise that he is not the shady motherfucker you
Might think him to be, he is a good little boy,
Deeply attune to his pleasures. The joy god wishes
You a good slumber, I howl, Lightspeed!, before
Welcoming any & all to sniff my bones one
Last time before the marvelous dead man
In me rises to the surface & lurches away,
Out into the ambulance-lit city to make
Sweet love to your lawn by just lying on it.

 

WE PUT DOWN DOGS THAT WON’T WEAR SWEATERS

Back then everything was
A velvety scarf of smoke
Whooshing out of the cracked
Open window of a car & we
Couldn’t be stopped by red
Lights, by blight, & rarely,
If ever understood that
The numbness in our faces
Was not windburn
Or the hurt brought on
By a first love cutting
Out the heart, but was,
In fact, an electric kind
Of aliveness—the million
Little stories that live
Under the flesh spidering
Wonderstruck through
Us. Now, so much has
Been lost just doing what
We have to do to keep
Breathing. Gravel Lungs
Wheeze the candles out.
Knife Music makes a wish.
In the moonlight we swim
Deep in the yawning tides
Of our forgetting & every
Day it becomes more & more
Impossible to go on, to see
That the jut of each hip is
A page-turner about the gut-
Stripped deer that sings
Dead-eyed & dangling from
A stardusted tree in the sky.

 
 

Alex Lemon

ALEX LEMON is the author of four poetry collections: Mosquito, Hallelujah Blackout, Fancy Beasts, and The Wish Book as well as Happy: A Memoir. An essay collection and a fifth book of poetry are forthcoming from Milkweed Editions.

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