You just posted some Richard Siken-related things...what are your favorite poems?
Asketh - Anonymous
Oooh good job, anon! You know who Richard Siken is; this gains you approval. He’s my favorite poet, and my favorites are Little Beast, Snow and Dirty Rain, and I Had a Dream About You.
I Had a Dream About You:
All the cows were falling out of the sky and landing in the mud.
You were drinking sangria and I was throwing oranges at you,
But it didn’t matter.
I said my arms are very long and your head’s on fire.
I said kiss me here and here and here,
And you did.
Then you wanted pasta,
So we trampled out into the tomatoes and rolled around to make the sauce.
You were very beautiful.
We were in the Safeway parking lot. I couldn’t find my cigarettes.
You said, “Hurry up!” But I was worried there would be a holdup,
And we would be stuck in a hostage situation, hiding behind the frozen meats, with nothing to smoke for hours.
You said, “Don’t be silly,”
So I followed you into the store.
We were thumping the melons when I heard somebody say, “Nobody move!”
I leaned over and whispered in your ear, “I told you so.”
There was a show on the television about buried treasure.
You were trying to convince me that we should buy shovels
And go out into the yard,
And I was trying to convince you that I was a vampire.
On the way to the hardware store I kept biting your arm,
And you said if I really was a vampire I would be biting your neck,
So I started biting your neck,
And you said “Cut it out!”
And you bought me an ice cream, and then we saw the UFO.
These are the dreams we should be having. I shouldn’t have to
Clean them up like this.
You were lying in the middle of the empty highway.
The sky was red and the sand was red and you were wearing a brown coat.
There were flecks of foam in the corners of your mouth.
The birds were watching you.
Your eyes were closed and you were listening to the road and I could
Hear your breathing; I could hear your heart beating.
I carried you to the car and drove you home but you weren’t making any sense.
I took a shower and tried to catch my breath.
You were lying on top of the bedspread in boxer shorts, watching cartoons and laughing but not making any sound.
Your skin looked blue in the television light.
Your teeth looked yellow.
Still wet, I lay down next to you. Your arms, your legs, your naked chest, your ribs delineated like a junkyard dogs.
There’s nowhere to go, I thought. There’s nowhere to go.
You were sitting in a bathtub at the hospital and you were crying.
You said it hurt.
I mean the buildings that were not the hospital.
I shouldn’t have mentioned the hospital.
I don’t think I can take this much longer.
In the dream I don’t tell anyone, you put your head in my lap.
Let’s say you’re driving down the road with your eyes closed
But my eyes are also closed.
You’re by the side of the road.
You’re by the side of the road and you’re doing all the talking
While I stare at my shoes.
They’re nice shoes, brown and comfortable, and I like your voice.
In the dream I don’t tell anyone, I’m afraid to wake you up.
In these dreams it’s always you:
The boy in the sweatshirt,
The boy on the bridge, the boy who always keeps me
From jumping off the bridge.
Oh, the things we invent when we are scared
And want to be rescued.
Your jeep. Your teeth. The coffee that you bought me.
The sandwich cut in half on the plate.
I woke up and ate ice cream in the dark,
Hunched over on the wooden chair in the kitchen,
Listening to the rain.
I borrowed your shoes and didn’t put them away.
You were crying and eating rice.
The surface of the water was still and bright.
Your feet were burning so I put my hands on them, but my hands
Were burning too.
You had a bottle of pills but I wouldn’t let you swallow them.
You said, “Will you love me even more when I’m dead?”
And I said, “No,” and I threw the pills on the sand.
“Look at them,” you said, “They look like emeralds.”
I put you in a cage with the ocelots. I was trying to fatten you up
With sausages and bacon.
Somehow you escaped and climbed up the branches of a pear tree.
I chopped it down but there was nobody in it.
I went to the riverbed to wait for you to show up.
You didn’t show up.
I kept waiting.
An all-night barbeque. A dance on the courthouse lawn.
The radio aches a little tune that tells the story of what the night
is thinking. It’s thinking of love.
It’s thinking of stabbing us to death
and leaving our bodies in a dumpster.
That’s a nice touch, stains in the night, whiskey and kisses for everyone.
Tonight, by the freeway, a man eating fruit pie with a buckknife
carves the likeness of his lover’s face into the motel wall. I like him
and I want to be like him, my hands no longer an afterthought.
Someone once told me that explaining is an admission of failure.
I’m sure you remember, I was on the phone with you, sweetheart.
History repeats itself. Somebody says this.
History throws its shadow over the beginning, over the desktop,
over the sock drawer with its socks, its hidden letters.
History is a little man in a brown suit
trying to define a room he is outside of.
I know history. There are many names in history
but none of them are ours.
He had green eyes,
so I wanted to sleep with him—
green eyes flecked with yellow, dried leaves on the surface of a pool-
You could drown in those eyes, I said.
The fact of his pulse,
the way he pulled his body in, out of shyness or shame or a desire
not to disturb the air around him.
Everyone could see the way his muscles worked,
the way we look like animals,
his skin barely keeping him inside.
I wanted to take him home
and rough him up and get my hands inside him, drive my body into his
like a crash test car.
I wanted to be wanted and he was
very beautiful, kissed with his eyes closed, and only felt good while moving.
You could drown in those eyes, I said,
so it’s summer, so it’s suicide,
so we’re helpless in sleep and struggling at the bottom of the pool.
It wasn’t until we were well past the middle of it
that we realized
the old dull pain, whose stitched wrists and clammy fingers,
far from being subverted,
had only slipped underneath us, freshly scrubbed.
Mirrors and shop windows returned our faces to us,
replete with the tight lips and the eyes that remained eyes
and not the doorways we had hoped for.
His wounds healed, the skin a bit thicker than before,
scars like train tracks on his arms and on his body underneath his shirt.
We still groped for each other on the backstairs or in parked cars
as the roads around us
grew glossy with ice and our breath softened the view through a glass
already laced with frost,
but more frequently I was finding myself sleepless, and he was running out
But damn if there isn’t anything sexier
than a slender boy with a handgun,
a fast car, a bottle of pills.
What would you like? I’d like my money’s worth.
Try explaining a life bundled with episodes of this—
swallowing mud, swallowing glass, the smell of blood
on the first four knuckles.
We pull our boots on with both hands
but we can’t punch ourselves awake and all I can do
is stand on the curb and say Sorry
about the blood in your mouth. I wish it was mine.
I couldn’t get the boy to kill me, but I wore his jacket for the longest time.
Snow and Dirty Rain:
Close your eyes. A lover is standing too close
to focus on. Leave me blurry and fall toward me
with your entire body. Lie under the covers, pretending
to sleep, while I’m in the other room. Imagine
my legs crossed, my hair combed, the shine of my boots
in the slatted light. I’m thinking My plant, his chair,
the ashtray that we bought together. I’m thinking This is where
we live. When we were little we made houses out of
cardboard boxes. We can do anything. It’s not because
our hearts are large, they’re not, it’s what we
struggle with. The attempt to say Come over. Bring
your friends. It’s a potluck, I’m making pork chops, I’m making
those long noodles you love so much. My dragonfly,
my black-eyed fire, the knives in the kitchen are singing
for blood, but we are the crossroads, my little outlaw,
and this is the map of my heart, the landscape
after cruelty which is, of course, a garden, which is
a tenderness, which is a room, a lover saying Hold me
tight, it’s getting cold. We have not touched the stars,
nor are we forgiven, which brings us back
to the hero’s shoulders and the gentleness that comes,
not from the absence of violence, but despite
the abundance of it. The lawn drowned, the sky on fire,
the gold light falling backward through the glass
of every room. I’ll give you my heart to make a place
for it to happen, evidence of a love that transcends hunger.
Is that too much to expect? That I would name the stars
for you? That I would take you there? The splash
of my tongue melting you like a sugar cube? We’ve read
the back of the book, we know what’s going to happen.
The fields burned, the land destroyed, the lovers left
broken in the brown dirt. And then’s it’s gone.
Makes you sad. All your friends are gone. Goodbye
Goodbye. No more tears. I would like to meet you all
in Heaven. But there’s a litany of dreams that happens
somewhere in the middle. Moonlight spilling
on the bathroom floor. A page of the book where we
transcend the story of our lives, past the taco stands
and record stores. Moonlight making crosses
on your body, and me putting my mouth on every one.
We have been very brave, we have wanted to know
the worst, wanted the curtain to be lifted from our eyes.
This dream going on with all of us in it. Penciling in
the bighearted slob. Penciling in his outstrechted arms.
Our father who art in Heaven. Our father who art buried
in the yard. Someone is digging your grave right now.
Someone is drawing a bath to wash you clean, he said,
so think of the wind, so happy, so warm. It’s a fairy tale,
the story underneath the story, sliding down the polished
halls, lightning here and gone. We make these
ridiculous idols so we can to what’s behind them,
but what happens after we get up the ladder?
Do we simply stare at what’s horrible and forgive it?
Here is the river, and here is the box, and here are
the monsters we put in the box to test our strength
against. Here is the cake, and here is the fork, and here’s
the desire to put it inside us, and then the question
behind every question: What happens next?
The way you slam your body into mine reminds me
I’m alive, but monsters are always hungry, darling,
and they’re only a few steps behind you, finding
the flaw, the poor weld, the place where we weren’t
stitched up quite right, the place they could almost
slip right into through if the skin wasn’t trying to
keep them out, to keep them here, on the other side
of the theater where the curtain keeps rising.
I crawled out the window and ran into the woods.
I had to make up all the words myself. The way
they taste, the wy they sound in the air. I passed
through the narrow gate, stumbled in, stumbled
around for a while, and stumbled back out. I made
this place for you. A place for to love me.
If this isn’t a kingdom then I don’t know what is.
So how would you catalog it? Dawn in the fields?
Snow and dirty rain? Light brought in in buckets?
I was trying to describe the kingdom, but the letters
kept smudging as I wrote them: the hunter’s heart,
the hunter’s mouth, the trees and the trees and the
space between the trees, swimming in gold. The words
frozen. The creatures frozen. The plum sauce
leaking out of the bag. Explaining will get us nowhere.
I was away, I don’t know where, lying on the floor,
pretending I was dead. I wanted to hurt you
but the victory is that I could not stomach it. We have
swallowed him up, they said. It’s beautiful. It really is.
I had a dream about you. We were in the gold room
where everyone finally gets what they want.
You said Tell me about your books, your visions made
of flesh and light and I said This is the Moon. This is
the Sun. Let me name the stars for you. Let me take you
there. The splash of my tongue melting you like a sugar
cube… We were in the gold room where everyone
finally gets what they want, so I said What do you
want, sweetheart? and you said Kiss me. Here I am
leaving you clues. I am singing now while Rome
burns. We are all just trying to be holy. My applejack,
my silent night, just mash your lips against me.
We are all going forward. None of us are going back.