Grateful for the way we once walked through the pines
you, apologizing to the boughs and needles with your gentle heels noticing the light warming one side of the conifers
capturing the way moss sneaks to live on in the dark bark,
tiny holes, vacant homes, thanking the ferns
harmonizing the body with the poplar

I tried to live this way

I am from plywood and Datsun noise
skate ramps and shitty forts
you are from purple milk thistle and where storms are born running high in the Santa Lucia green
With black nightgown whipping
I watch you fall in the coastal fields-
a credit card flopped on a poker table
laughing like it’s all going to be okay

Snowbank smile, calling the condors down
Come lay with me
hands grace over my jeans like parlor magic
Come home with me
I volunteer to disappear in your bed
Your sheet-mess reveals the chaos in your mind

I lay there as you snore slight and pleased
You sleep like a sailor giving in to the sinking
I stare up in a palace of confusion
scared to move—guerilla stillness—rigid on a pile of loaded machine guns
I need an arm across you all night
but don’t want to wake you-
You are so kind when rested

The memory deck shuffles:
The truth of the man in Morro Bay
who told you the neon truth
of how your face lit up the entire liquor store

The slugging train through the woods as you napped in my lap
doused in Moscato and mumbling about your strained friendship with the raccoons

The daylight you screamed into as I screwed you in the rowboat, hoping love would burst from your neck
and waiting

The mini golf I let you win at and the bad nachos down your chin that you couldn’t feel

The Joshua Tree shadows I bled under as you squeezed my cock dumb like a lemon

The bbq wing smoke in Palm Desert and the hot tub wind that tried to warn us

The man in New Orleans
who told us how lucky we were to be in love
and how I wanted to tell him the Russian sounding sadness of not yet

Black birds swing down and pick over carcasses

The deck goes blank

Pringles and vibrators by your bed- Do I still make you lonely?
You stir turning on your side
Warm machine- more than a healer-
daughter of a nail gun
holding the roof down of the family home

You turn again
sunlight unlacing across you
The coconut oil on your thigh sheens away
Fingers dawdle in long black fatal hair

I am obsessed at the harmony in these sleeping collarbones bridges of alabaster,
looking down to the shocks of fingernail paint chipped

The body is such a July

My fingers now to your jaw, agape
Moving it slightly, puppeting forth the phrase
I love you boy
until you wake and say, “What are you doing?”


for you to wake-

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DERRICK C. BROWN is s a poet, novelist, comedian and storyteller. He is the winner of the 2013 Texas Book of The Year award for Poetry. He is a former Paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne and is the president of one of what Forbes and Filter Magazine call “…one of the best independent poetry presses in the country,” Write Bloody Publishing, which has launched over 130 books of poetry. He is the author of seven books of poetry and three children’s books. The New York Times calls his work, “…a rekindling of faith in the weird, hilarious, shocking, beautiful power of words.” He is from Los Angeles, California.

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