November 21, 2014

D. Gilson, “Soon We’ll Bury All Our Dead”

Posted on 01. Aug, 2012 by in Poetry Spotlight

Today, two new poems by D. Gilson.


Kimberly called to say, The only reason I had sex
with you was to push you away
, and that’s a debate
better left for semantics but tonight we are going
to look for the answer so I hang up, call Mallory, ask
if she can smoke me up. Later, yea. This is what

it has come to—tonight, Richard, I think I’ll buy
the weed myself. I wander around my apartment
where the sheets are wrinkled and need washing,
where the books need to be alphabetized, where
the recycling—just empty beer bottles and my year

as a bisexual—needs to be taken out to the dumpster,
where the rug needs vacuuming and every shirt I own
needs folded inside itself and put away. Instead
I lie on the couch and watch Darjeeling Limited:
once upon a time three brothers wandered across

India to find themselves but only found their mother.
That’s the best punch line I’ve heard today
and as I search the rotating ceiling fan for possibility
Loren’s there and says, Damnit Duane, get up, let’s roll.
In the car there’s a struggle for music. Loren says,

Acoustic guitar is for pussies and I say, Fuck you,
Loren Leamy, we can’t all be rockstars. He asks
what I did today and I tell him the most interesting part
of the book I read—it won the Pulitzer Prize—is the text
of this book was set in Centaur, the only typeface

designed by Bruce Rogers (1870-1957), the well-known
American book designer. What honor! to be raised
in typeface, to be praised in some author’s note,
to be written here. I say tonight we’ll cremate the book
by the airport and Loren says, Shit man, that’s rough.

I remember when Marty shot himself: it was Superbowl
Sunday. Everyone said cremation cremation cremation
but Mom wouldn’t have it, shotgun-to-the-mouth
be damned. At the funeral we brothers were pallbearers
and I was so young, couldn’t carry my weight. Or Marty’s.

Now that’s the best punch line I’ve heard all year.
Shit, I wasn’t at the funeral. I’m projecting—my suit
didn’t fit right, the last thing Marty said to me was faggot,
and now Kimberly won’t marry me. She’s right not to marry
a queer like me but oh the conspiracies of Brooks Brothers,

of our mothers, of even though I walk through the valley
I will fear no evil. We drive out by the airport. I lie under
the swarm of turbo-engine jets, place Kimberly on Pegasus,
which Orion shoots dead. The wound bleeds Diet Pepsi.
I drink myself to drunkenness, to nakedness, to sleep.


A bicycle, Jimmy, is a machine built for movement, both toward and away from. I
gave you a bicycle on a Tuesday afternoon. You said, I can ride this bicycle to
work! With this bicycle I can buy groceries, attend medical school, move to
France, cure syphilis! And I did not doubt you could ride a bicycle across that
Atlantic Ocean. On a Thursday, which is a day for making fires, we ride bicycles
to an archipelago.

________________________________I give you an ocean. From the dock,
I yell—Do you know how hard it is to find an ocean in Missouri? You do know.
You say, A bicycle is not a chair. Yes. You move toward me on a bicycle. You sit
by me in a chair. You move away from me on a bicycle and the tides continue to


D. GILSON holds an MFA in poetry and creative nonfiction from Chatham University, and is currently a PhD student in American Literature and Culture at George Washington University. His work has appeared in Assaracus, Beloit Poetry Journal, and The Rumpus, and his chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2011 Robin Becker Chapbook Prize from Seven Kitchens Press. Find him at

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