THREE OF SWORDS (REVERSED)

“if it wasn’t for you I would take the time and my only regret would be real” — Al Nelson, “Young Hearts”

 

You’ve tried to scrub them

but I pick up a spoon turn

it over and the little flecks

of black on the bottom never

go away no matter how many

sponges you wear out

 

you swear the acrid tang

of the atmosphere in your room

is ozone from the old cathode

ray tube and joke how it’s time

maybe to finally get a good TV

 

take this one out into the yard

and smash it with hammers and bats

smash it with truth and spikes

 

the bank you visit to try and get

another loan the only collateral

your veins has been defunct

for millennia, is inhabited now

only by silverfish and the odd mollusk

 

(and all your interest payments

are routed to Ernest Angley’s

bank account in the Caymans)

 

Push it away!

Stop!

 

This is your brain on drugs,

this is your brain on alcohol,

this is your brain on tofu, Pepsi,

genetically modified popcorn,

Marlboros, water, air, this

is your brain on brain

 

and it doesn’t look much different

than it did before the first time

you shot up

(Any questions?)

 

I mean, just look around, let’s

just lie down in the middle of Broad

Street right by the Divine Lorraine

and stare straight up, catch brutalist

architecture in our peripheral vision

and let the blacksnakes swarm out

of the rotten basement and over

our bodies like we always said we would

 

and just listen to the city’s gunshot

soundtrack and see if any cars decide

to not stop, just crush our skulls

and then go on, disappear into the night

 

feel the blade’s gentle tip over the throat,

the promise of separation, wonder which

kiss will hurt less in the long run

Photograph by Lauren Smothers

November 2018 marked Robert Beveridge's thirtieth anniversary as a publishing poet. When not writing, he makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Pink Litter, Triadæ, and Welter, among others. 

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