Christopher Citro & Dustin Nightingale
The Explosion Lands Us All
on Queer Street
You look like you're waiting for someone to lay a towel
around your neck, like a boxer on a little stool. A Japanese
condom filled with air and ice bucket water. That could be
a painting of the moon. Airships were once the going thing.
Big balloons floating above us like we're all jerks. Imagine,
little people inside drinking bubbly wine and laughing
toward each other charmingly. Thin skins in the sky. When
it happens they all say why why why? Why not why why why?
And the answer is easy. The sun sets. Red falls from
the sky, gets all over us. Have you ever stood in the middle
of a film and just walked out of the theater? I know you
have. Because I followed you. When you're sitting there
watching both your hands and what they might do next, I'm
right behind you like a stop sign with the stop shot out. The
sound of screaming from above. Ten years until the ringing
of some bell.
Did I Mention I Am in Room 103?
The perfect bedroom is one with sailing ships along the
walls. The window tongued with rain. A sack of lemon salt
above the door. My teeth are falling out in my dreams and
waking life and I cannot stop thinking of a planet made of
something clean that isn't bleach. If I had a boat I wouldn't
know how to get on it, batten down anything, or find a star
to steer by. What I know about is get out of bed when I
can't breathe, stand at the kitchen sink and swallow water
until I can feel like boats inside. Isn't it too obvious when
they sink? But they do! And people go to see what is left
behind. Like a songbird, two songbirds, trapped inside an
airport. When you become _____, don't be water, don't be
in a chair. Below in the street, a wolf crawling toward the
sea. Your light this late blinding it. Calm down, Sir, is
definitely not insane to say to everything, and I mean
everything: Concrete, the flux of the universe, water in a
boiled whatever (insert something terribly important here)
or yourself or a fizzy drink. Salvage vessels like teeth rising
along the horizon.
It still breaks my heart to think of myself as a young man
who wanted to do as much good as he did harm. I bloom in
you and I watch myself from the backyard window. Pounds
of moonlight. Me taking the strain, or trying to. Nobody
should take it. There is a reason there is a center of the
earth. If you want to become weightless then I want to help.
There is a reason most desperate phone calls are at night. I
will stay awake until morning with my mouth to your
breast humming just a bit off key. Each day of the week,
the moss pulling toward us with a green light. A copper
taste in my mouth, beginning to feel another skull inside
my skull. If you need to bite down a little to keep from
floating away, bite down on me.
I have saved every answering machine/voicemail message I have gotten since leaving home at age 18. In mediation, I can offer these lines from Stephen Dunn’s poem “Empathy” - Once in a small rented room, awaiting/a night call from a distant time zone,/I understood you could feel so futureless/you’d want to get a mermaid//tattooed on your biceps.
Christopher Citro is the author of The Maintenance of the Shimmy-Shammy (Steel Toe Books,2015), and his poems appear or are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2014, Prairie Schooner, and Poetry Northwest.