Poem in Case We Become Soldiers
I’ve begun practicing with a shade of red called “lust.”
I paint red stars on my sneakers, the coffee table,
on the envelopes I mail to Time Warner. Lust
is militant in the sense it’s beyond moderation,
as when the weak lion risks his life
to corral a female into thicket. See how
that type of desire wears a uniform,
see how one can watch it dominate
like a soldier at a daycare center.
After a time, my living room walls
resemble a night bleeding from its beginnings.
But being American
dulls one to the shock of duplication,
one idea built on the wreckage of another, like limbs
piled on a battlefield. Stars and stars and stars, and
a game to see who can draw the best, free-hand.
Then a game to see
what we can “do without”: fresh fruit, Google,
time of day, wanting, wanting to be wanted.
Finally, I stand against the wall, spread-eagle,
my five points splayed
as though I were part of something larger. No,
as though something larger were coming
and my stomach, my soft parts
had been cured of their foolish longing
for the blink of instinct,
that posture whereby the palms point face-out
as a creature denying the inevitability of pain.
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