Gary Sullivan

      my letters & your answers, having risen out of obscurity
like a column of air in the larynx, now sleep
folded in a book of poetry, some phantom
no less than human flesh
but beside it, as beside your glans the reddest flower
would look as grey as asphalt.
                               It's the book I open now, my
fingers blackened by our consonants, the present
devoured by our past, though I do think it's funny
you asked me to send you
short lines, 
inhabitable, when
the camillia is more like what I am
& didn't you say you wanted me, do I have to make you
promise not to forget
we took our clothes off? Wake up your hands
my love, you are hard
to love. As hard, at least, as this pillow.
                                            Wake up
I want to tell you something. Well, any-
thing, just so long it's particular, & real. Descriptions
of burnt matches in the cherrywood incense boat, banal
pan across the tiny landscape of my nighttable
orange paperback copy of Browning's Aurora Leigh
mostly empty bottle of Brooklyn Brown Ale, its gold & chocolate
label peeled off, wedge of half-eaten bagel in paper wrapper
your letters, photos & poems on the rug beside the bed
grains of sand, glass & paper bits everywhere
my cream colored phone, its cord trailing off into the other room
where Chris plays George Harrison's "Dark Horse"
O it's abyssmal but I'll suffer it knowing it's temporary
life's temporary too if you look at it like that
I prefer not to, I guess, like how I prefer
companionship, long romance, someone in particular to see
not merely memory.
                   Memory has nowhere to go. & how long 
can I pour my heart out
while my hands shake, I know this is just a poem, but why
won't you say anything, tonight I feel
swindled by words, like all our kisses replaced by my fist.
I want what I write to make you wet between your legs.
I don't want to scour the dictionary
to find it. I want you here
in this poem, like the Indian on the American Spirit pack
like Elizabeth on the cover of her book
I am 36 years old, my wife who I loved because I didn't yet love
you, won't call me back. I want her to call me
so I can tell her I love you. "No one is ever innocent," "Those
who don't feel pain never believe it's felt," do you
want me to stop quoting? I can't
look out the window from where I'm sitting. I can
reach the Mezcal Brenda brought me back from Mexico
 I can see the collage poem Carolina sent me when I left her
for you, I can line up all the photographs of you
on the filthy rug & beat off, but my hands are cold & dry
it'd be barely tolerable & would go by too fast
& when it was over I'd still be here & you'd be there
"in my head
& on my page"
but what would I do with my cum-filled hand, not to mention
all my inexhaustible fears?
                            A gust of wind sets off a car alarm
4 stories below on 6th Avenue, luck is
always for tomorrow, luck is for voyagers, & all the grass
in front of us. Everyone reading this poem will roll their eyes
but you.
             What am I supposed to concentrate on now?
Drunkenness. Empty stomach. Some life to come. 
I'm not consoled by this. It is a
                          to be
                          as indifferent as the sea,
                                                     to know love
as the end of all our imagining. There's always something
to see, feel & smell. But I loved you as well
as you loved me.
                 Life without love is unimaginable.
                 Life in the movies is too clear.
                 Life bores men who think all morning.
                 Love means you never stop staring
                 at me, no matter how many girls
                 I spent adoring, & that I know who we are
                 when the weather's out of hand.
                                                 This book
a paper boat, filled with poems
increasingly specific.
                       Outside, it's twenty degrees, inside
maybe 40. That's not specific enough, your nipples
as red as raspberries, that's closer
but obviously drunken sentiment, your pubic hair not sorrel
as much as I like saying the word, your cunt sweet
but who among your lovers hasn't told you as much
I loved how you shivered against the palm of my hand
I want to smoke a cigarette but I don't
I want my tongue inside you when I'm saying this
my lips full against you my tongue curled deep inside you
I imagine the pressure of wanting you to be your legs
squeezing my head as you cum, but it's not specific enough
it's just that I can't avoid it, I'm freezing, the radiator
hissed off hours ago, Chris paces the living room
no sound but some distant car alarm outside, blocks away
this isn't a good poem the beer sits heavy in my belly
 I want to feel your weight on me, my cock's unreal in my hand
without you though the negatives disperse
my arms will fold when I'm done with this but no one will care
but you, no one will see me from this angle but you
& as morning's early business opens
we again will open, I will open, & will think of you
open, having opened, my only lover,