The Stillness Holds No Promises
A love poem

Back when I was just a quarter of a decimal
I rounded off to the steepest crowns of Now
Before I watched Past tear apart too easily
Like a diseased patch of silver-dusted skin

I can hear the mechanical echoes of my own laughter
Intended for Something somewhere where I am
Sweating it out in the corner of a noise-crowded
Waiting room of a dirty Lower East Side AIDS clinic
That smells like a blending of dog shit and Big Macs

And I’m distracted with my perverse prayers for Positive
Even though that’s not what the nurse ends up giving me
As a form of compensation for all the hours I sacrificed
Being the lazy eye inside your favorite glass marble  

“Anima, actualized”

Tonight is like your last night’s view of my body from behind
Curled-up and naked inside your open window pane
The sweat-shine on my skin reflecting the Technicolor City’s glow
As I savor the final burn from another Gitane with the filter ripped off

You exhale the softest of laughs and gently finger
My shoulder’s pool of blended light and by now
All of our awkwardness has since been addressed
With one long descriptive open-ended question
That’s been patiently answered not once but twice

Earlier tonight I knew I had been turned into a shrimp named Selí
Swimming against the strong currents of complex zigzag patterns
And ricocheting off the high-pitch of crisscrossing echoes

But now that I’m lost in the layers of unfamiliar texture
Now that I’m lost in the absence of familiar physical markers
I ask myself is this not just another high-definition dream? Or
Is this what it feels like to be marinated in your sweet-ginger West Coast taste?

From below I hear echoes echoing more echoes
All these echoes are circling me from every angle
Like tiny callused newborn fingers raking over blue
Candy bars covered in Braille-print plastic
Wrapping scratches ascend to a deafening-white
Pitch that is gnawing through my flesh as I lay
On my back trying to gasp the deepest of breaths
While the crinkle-crackle-crackle cracklings bleat their collective cry
A thousand candy wrappers explode into a magnificent chemical red

Zachary C. Bush is 24. His first full-length collection of experimental
poetry, at swan decapitation, is forthcoming through Louis E. Bourgeois's
VOX Press. He lives outside of New York City with Veruca Salt, his
bipolar cat.

© 2008 Underground Voices