BJ Soloy just moved from the duplex wilderness of Missoula, MT to Des Moines, IA and has poems published or forthcoming in Guernica, New American Writing, Horse Less Review, FIELD, Colorado Review, Court Green, Hayden’s Ferry Review, CutBank, Columbia Poetry Review, and DIAGRAM, among others.
Classic Rock Neighbor shoots at me with a gun
made of his fingers. This means hello.
I flap my hand’s white handkerchief,
which means Behold: the discursive sunrise,
patches of ungrassed field.
A storm occurs, so I look in the closet
for a radio: an echo scanning
for a source. A storm occurs, meaning:
We’ve received your feedback
& will take it into consideration, meaning:
The current era is “matter dominated.”
So the city buzzes while, afield, a bee
deflowers some sea lavender
in the key of C. You turn your face to mine
like a slap. The city is unsung & in the collapse
of my posture there is a spark.
The contract specifies “a drizzly damn day”
in which a crowd uncorks until decorated
in their own bitter juices, the neuroses
of the hour, the clock’s rampant credibility.
To represent a collusion of jury & tragedy.
I’ve gotten in the habit of referring to myself
as The Masculine Speaker. As a teenager,
The Masculine Speaker’s hormones turned
his young imagination into a pornograph,
his wheels stuck in the mud. I am made uneasy
by nuclear melting, but I am made excited
by considering the prospect of little things
becoming monsters. Dust particles in the air
—flakes of skin—become a new skin,
the superfice of the air, the little things
of Little Things. The He that is me that is the I
has gotten in the habit of referring to myself
as The Feminine Speaker.
We are just so happy to be here, for now.
Blood rides the radiators to the top floor.
A phone rings inside my skull
with the burning dirigible urgency
of Dostoyevsky’s epilepsy:
the tra-la-la-la-la of the Lord.
This is the montage that shorthands
my childhood. Supping on camphor,
that medicinal gristle, it is more
than mere curio, this connection.
Soggy as flaccid hashbrowns, soft
as fontanel, his sadsack derelict
sings saddlesore & chapped,
frailing in gamey leather britches.
With the fecundity of a nunnery,
the dirge is castled & queened,
quelched by the knell;
a dénouement ringing ringing
ringing ringing ringing until rung.
You have a knife to your throat as the noonchimes
annunciate their own machinery. As the birthmark
percolates through my skin, I stop
by the romance superstore, the streets slippery
with insects & the orbits of their own artificial moons;
now a major motion picture stabbing holes
into the curdled earth, now blurting out a cirrus
of wasps under a purge, now a girth of weather.
I decided to start taking photographs
of small things. Brown rice. Cat teeth.
I don’t have a camera. This fetal river
blathers its passing while I drown
in this drowsy geography. You have
a knife to your own throat. True story.
An apologist with apology lighting.
I don’t own a camera. As the noonchimes
articulate the facts: this is a sound-
driven enterprise, a co-opted SoCo PoMo RomCom
with Rococo furnishings & regrettable endings.
My yearling darling, a little pinch of rock n’ roll
pulls my nipple in its teeth. The first trial.
By reading this line, you are now pre-
approved for an Uncanny Valley credit card,
for my nipple in your teeth, a bleached bee
at the base of the window, defrosting. Another way
to be would be in Oklahoma City,
under the nurturing bulb of billboard,
where you could only ever bite your own lip,
address letters to the lovers you’ve loved
& store them, pinned specimens
in intuitive groupings. You open the morning
with the signet’s alien song. Every time.
You open your eyes. You open your throat
with your signature avian yawn. Every time
you turn your own head, the stage surfaces;
every time you turn back, it retracts
(your curtains more cataracts than blinds)
& each time the act repeats, your mouth
lets the words range a little farther.
You swear you can feel it in your teeth.
I’m enjoying a gender-neutral Coca-Cola
when the drowsiness colonizes the countryside.
In a fit of bucolia, I curl up in a fever
of pine needles, soft as a dropped apple,
& snore. Each breath in scrabbles
up the shore. Each breath out
loses its grip & relapses.