D. Gilson, “Soon We’ll Bury All Our Dead”
Today, two new poems by D. Gilson.
SOON WE’LL BURY ALL OUR DEAD
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 dgilson.com.