Thomas Patrick Levy (poetry)
FEEL LIKE CARDBOARD
We are busy making plans all weekend, your fingers stuck in the hide of an animal, your fingers aching, busy, moving through each hair with precision, moving through each hair perfectly the way I’ve tried to move around you but you know how terrible dancing makes me feel, the green lights, the church-high ceilings. You know how each room has its own syntax, how each room’s walls are their own colors, how I peel the tape away and feel like cardboard. How I peel the tape away and come apart so quickly in the rain, the smell of paper, the ink sprayed like branches, the ink everywhere in the laundry and in my hair and on my fingers. You say IF YOU COULD REMEMBER ONLY ONE OR TWO THINGS, you say IF YOU COULD STOP TOUCHING THE ROOF OF YOUR MOUTH AND LISTEN FOR JUST A SECOND.
YOU HAVE LIKELY BEEN EXPOSED
And sometimes but only for a moment I do listen. You see there’s always a marble of thought between my teeth. There’s always the gum-sick insides turning in circles, my mouth is always spitting dried leaves, pencil shavings. You see I am concerned with this condition. I spend my lunch hour on WEB MD. I type I HAVE THE CHILLS. I type I AM ALL ALONE. You see the cure is made of fabric. I see the cure in a series of X’s on an electric grid. You see the cure can be torn apart and left to collect rain water in the night. WEB MD says YOU HAVE LIKELY BEEN EXPOSED TO THE COLD. I cannot disagree. I have been exposed to the cold and I argue anyway because I know how much I can’t see even when looking through your telescopic heart.
LET’S MAKE AN EP
And when I do look I see that your heart also is made of the stems of the words of all my wrinkled poems. I am so self-important when I make comments like this. Your heart is actually a pair of monocles. Your heart is solitary and beating wishfully while I go around and around whining like a dried fan belt, while I go through dirt and slip between cars and feel sly and motherfucking wonderful. You see I can’t stand the intensity of your heart, it waves as if in a miraculous wind, it waves as if a storm were about to tear it from a flag pole. You see I understand everything you say and I have done my best to record your speaking most accurately, but nothing can be done. I look through your telescopic heart and hear terrible music, music made with broken shingles and frayed twine, the music of my heart is the same as the music of your heart. You say LET’S MAKE AN EP, you say WE CAN SELL THEM ON THE INTERNET FOR FREE EVEN THOUGH PAPER CAN’T MAKE THE RIGHT SOUND.
When we do make plans it’s always the same thing. The dog needs to go outside. The neighbors need to be put away in cages. The neighbors need to be told to shut the fuck up. Once I open my mouth to say YOU ARE THE NASTIEST PILE OF CLOTHING but instead I say DO YOU LIKE YOUR NEW TRUCK. Once I open my mouth to say THE BOTH OF YOU ARE A MISERABLE TELEVISION DRAMADIE but instead I say I LIKE THE WAY YOU LEAVE YOUR COUCH ON THE PATIO. I don’t say this either. God you know I’m a liar, actually I open my mouth to say both these things and instead say nothing at all. My heart is contained within the pages of the Los Angeles Review. I am so proud of my heart. It’s two pages long and I leave it on the shelf and wish your friends will read my heart. Instead nothing. Instead we talk about Paris and none of it makes any sense, instead we make vague plans, we say WE’LL COME OUT YOUR WAY TO SEE THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BURNT MOUNTAINS, actually you say WE’RE HAVING A BARBECUE IN AUGUST. I want the property value to drop like bird shit, I want everything to burn like a wildfire.
by Thomas Patrick Levy