In honor of the 4th, we bring you a poem from our current issue, with fireworks. Have a happy and safe holiday!
Another Offensive Discourse on Love and Marriage, with Fireworks
by Gregory Donovan
Let's say right off we may have invented this point of view purely
so that no one could be found talking here at all. Fields
of tall grass could turn red with cold, or burn, murders
of crows row south, snow drift over the mountain, & it wouldn’t be anything
personal. Let’s say we even drag in some tattered watermark of an I
to tell an antique tale of romance: The long-nosed gods of December shook
the bamboo in their icy hands. Supple stems dipped and swayed through the chill
black depths of winter sky, confusing the stars, and I took you for my own.
It couldn’t hurt. Depending on the season and your dose of weariness or vanity,
the X or K you’ve swallowed in your education, force-fed—you might choose
sarcasm for one, identify with the other. Choose a vowel. That little old I
could be laughing or weeping and it would have nothing to do with little old U.
We slept in the glassed in solarium, above us, white jointed culms
pitching and tossing, strange to each other under the clack of icy branches
that first holiday in your ancestral home. All of us lying still
and awake in the cold. Quiet, slow, we two made ourselves one.
But we know there was no we and they made nothing. Nothing now
that couldn't erase itself inside the sad jingles and plastic Santas riding
the air like bad bubbles, along with the nothings huddled in the snowy pine,
two house sparrows perched on a branch nearby, shivering as we passed.
Nothing that summer couldn't make tinseled and absurd.
Let's say you climbed to the roof to read and lie in the angry sun
alone. Let's say I crawled into the dark under the house
and wouldn't come out even when you called. Let's say it all.
Or we could pinch this sick rhetoric and slowly bend it around, bring
down the branch to wire it, and if it snaps, the birds will merely flit away
with one last cheep and swiftly enter the silence of paper sky
and be gone. So we can erase and safely forget. All the you's and I's.
What's a pronoun but a noun less famous?
And what's a marriage but sulfur & charcoal rolled into saltpeter
and packed tightly into a paper tube to be set on fire. Oohs and ahs.
The Time Rain, the Glitter Palm, the Diadem, the Cake and Ring.
Now the author has disappeared into smoke. He walks a beach in Mexico
in white suit, stares beyond the frozen waves like a penitent barefoot in the snow.
He is painting himself into an impossible scene, perhaps. But can we tell
anymore if he’s the one thinking: what is pain or pleasure, but a single vowel?