Three Poems by Thomas Patrick Levy

How Circles Work

Sometimes I don’t let it bother me and sometimes I spend the whole night staring at the mirror next to the bed thinking WHEN WILL THIS STOP HAPPENING TO EVERY SINGLE MONSTER. And in the morning usually I feel alright. It’s a wave, parabolas, math. It’s a cycle still but you know how things work in circles, how circles work but aren’t perfect. And I don’t let it bother me but then it’s nine-thirty and the whole office starts coming through the storefront door and no one brews a pot of coffee. You see there’s a whole cabinet full of Folgers, you see I am full-up like a coffee mug and there’s all that residue dripping down my sides and you call it sweat and I call it my breath because even when I get a good flow of oxygen I still can’t breathe and I lock myself up inside one of those Tetris bricks and think as clear as a windshield about my heart rate and I think like a windshield about all the dying middle-aged men with heart conditions and you say YOU’RE JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE except that when I bald I’ll have that brain-surgery lump on my head and God I’ll look ridiculous and God I just can’t stop pulling my hair off my scalp and God I know that every single monster must be this real.

 

We Are Sleeping

The next time I see your monster it’s days and days later and your monster is wearing a green and white scarf. I want to say YOUR MONSTER IS A QUEER but I don’t want to offend your monster, his head is so round and soft. His head is not yet covered and I hold your monster like an infant, I hold your monster close and say I WANT TO KEEP YOUR MONSTER ALL FOR MYSELF and then I realize that we are sleeping in our room and the neighbors have gotten into each other again, we can hear them like raccoons tearing each brick from its careful place. I keep my eyes shut and hope the cereal is safe away. I keep my eyes shut and wish for an end-of-the-world alarm. I quiet the dog but you are holding me and I am a small green monster with a crooked tooth. I say WHERE DID THIS SCARF COME FROM, I say HOW COME MY SOCKS ARE PULLED UP SO FUCKING HIGH. And eventually we always wake. And then I know it’s several days before Missouri.

 

Pulling String

I spend a week in the cardboard box. I count the days by the smell of breakfast sausage. It comes each morning like a sexy bird. It comes each morning and I hunger for you and I start to eat pieces of cardboard I cook with the warmth of my fingers in the way that I sometimes cook you with my fingertips. I think I WISH I HAD LEARNED TO KNIT. I spend each moment pulling string from inside myself out through my mouth. The ball of string becomes larger than my monster’s oval head. The color of the ball is purple, of course. I think MY HEART IS SO MUCH LIKE YOUR HEART, I think MYHEART IS NOT TINY BUT VERY FULL. I think IF I WERE TO  MAKE MYSELF A HAT FROM THIS STRING I WOULD WEAR MY HEART ON MY HEAD. It’s a disaster. Has my heart not once ever kept us warm. If you were here you would say WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN MEAN, if you were here you would say DO NOT PULL THE STRINGS TOO TIGHT, THE COTTON WILL STRETCH AND YOUR HAT WILL NEVER FIT.

***

Thomas Patrick Levy is author of I Don’t Mind if You’re Feeling Alone (YesYes, 2012) and the chapbook Please Don’t Leave Me Scarlett Johansson (Vinyl 45s, 2011). More information is available online at thomaspatricklevy.com.

Photo credit: ttronslien, morguefile.com

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