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Two Poems by Eric Sneathen

Two Poems by Eric Sneathen

The Planet Moon 

People are idiots, but I am from San Francisco 

(The cat sniffs me, so I sniff her right back) 

—Not that I can afford it, even in this proximity 

This gesture of shifting shoulder blades as 

The pen slows down. I hope I have beautiful 

Handwriting in the future, an end 

To what’s wrong in this wrong world, but not 

The world. I find it terrifying: have feelings; 

Include angers; real quick, and where to put it. 

Paul says the slant of your handwriting 

Is the dead giveaway of desire. The text leans 

Forward to tell whoever’s listening, I want this 

or that away. I want this body to continue 

And then go back to I don’t know where. 

I find it comforting (as Agnes rolls against 

The hardwood sun) to know the ocean

Isn’t from our world, but slowly built up 

By meteors exhaling little puffs of ice 

For uncountable eons. The moon keeps 

Twisting it / Imagine it / See it on YouTube 

How many years we’d need to sit down 

And “chill” to breathe a ocean like ours 

Into being. It appears destructive, to destroy 

Such blankness. I think we’re doing it now: 

The point of a pen scratching any surface.

Wonderful And All My Nothing

I am not a warm laughter or solitude. This is

Not my relationships, the palm fronds clap

Together in a balmy breeze. I am not the smell

Of my grandma’s skin, metallic shines the loam

Of fields. No trace of footprints, freshly fallen

Snow. He won’t dip his toes into the nocturnal

Lake, naked frog song and reeds. This can’t

Hear it, the water cascading over the edge,

The quickening my heartbeat when my body’s

Pressed with love, “You taught me something.

You said something I needed to hear that I

Didn’t know I needed.” Food made with love

—I won’t be—Miguel, the waves of my friends

Playing football (as in soccer). This isn’t my son

Or my wife or my work refined into a postscript

I write out to the horizon. It isn’t helpful: a lot

Of trees already dead, still standing there like

A joke told my Grandpa once. Peonies unlatch

From my own need for something magnificent.

I’m not a breakfast table our cat sits down for

Her lot in life, the powder of brown pellets

Stuck to her patient lips. I figure my no-good

Attitude is my signature. I can’t flatten worlds,

Or even a bouquet of commas, to send up

A colon lets the air breathe through grammar.

All my attempts to make sex, to take an SSRI,

Conceptually speaking, I’m not just a body

Of water, a significant aberration, stepping off

Stones. I can’t bench myself in a busy terminal

To watch the people scatter and make up

Stories about where they’re going into blood

Turns over its leaves for you. It won’t be a clear

Day after calling in sick but not actually being

Sick. I am not being honest about who I am.

Untangling knots, I can’t resist the cloister,

The masks other hands have made. I can’t be

Alone for hours and hours and hours if you’re

Here with me again, one more sound of you

Won’t let me try again. No one spreads justice

Like a picnic of picking out summer berries

And melons. No changing things into better,

Flipping reality like a snowglobe gets flipped.

When a friend drops a banner or asks to fuck

Something up in coordinated efforts this thing

Can’t ask. No worries in the grain of memory,

The Paris of every moment I walk thru each

One of my languages, reflexively. I don’t myself.

Didn’t you take a shower after fisting me like

That? No sleep in the wormhole out of doors;

All day in sun, which isn’t where I’ve made it.

Uncorking some inner resource, histories gone

Up through my spine, been there to count

The taps of his boots I’ve been so close, like

Dirty plates at summer camp, layer upon layer.

And the rain can’t conjure the specific after-

Word of petrichor, damp and warm under

Patches of needles, no steam from autumn

Storms. Each part of my mouth fails each part

Of every word as it passes the throat, tongue,

Teeth vibrate and click to cut the sound into

Shapes. Like your name, the one you rise

To hear, your mother’s second or third name

I won’t trace it, lightly. His brow to my fingers

I don’t fall in love when I’m not supposed to.

Could be everyday, but I can’t. I won’t light

Paint light / Despair written through morning

With hot black coffee, orange sheets in bed.



Notable Holes

Notable Holes