……………1. Prologue
She was twenty, she was impressionable;
I betrayed her, she was angry, and
I left her; I was impressionable,
I regretted it; she was twenty, and

I am not a spiteful man and
I am not a poet.

That is, the–I dare not yet say my–
I say, the odalisque rises, stretches,
retches PBR and bilious memory,
all of it, down to dry dregs, and
flushes it onto this page.
Watch it run, quick on quick,
unto shit.

That present tense is poignant:
the present, tense, is poignant,
for Mnemosyne, though
gorgeous, is a minor deity.
doomed to die by Dionysus’
boozy lance.

……………Mine eyes have seen the glory of the…
……………vintage where the grapes…
……………is marching on.

……………2. The First Bar
If I write in your brother’s style will he
find these poems by some
schizophrenic spidey sense like
he hears his voice
in my mouth
in his ears and will he pass them along?

And if I write in your brother’s style will you
laugh a little, eyes draw to tight corners like
Egon Schiele painted you as himself, and
if you laugh a little will you
not die like him at twenty-eight,
one year too late to’ve been great and
one or two too early for me to figure out how to say
and if you live past twenty-eight will you–

Wait. Back to the codex:
something lost,
some line drawn too long or
not near long enough–regardless,
something wrong.

The basics: If you were a Klimt portrait,
you’d get itchy, you’d get bored, you’d
take way too much damn Vyvanse, to
try to trance out to try to forget you’re
dead on a wall in Manhattan.

Don’t be dead on a wall in Manhattan.
Be slumping under a glitchy speaker
behind a Belmont bar and be
ranting about other women
dead on walls in Manhattan.

……………3. The Second Bar
I wrote in your boyfriend’s style and
showed him the hard proof and
gassed him up hard and
yet and yet and
yet.

Granted, you ran to me as soon as you arrived and
sighed, pressed your thighs against mine and
he’s got eyes, I seen ‘em and
they saw you thus:

Tired, half-drunk, lisdexamphetaminic neutral gear yet
high beside me, looking like an Egon Schiele
nude–contorted hither, yon, eyes aslant,
dancing in place though talking
prettiest nothing, mouthing
words he couldn’t
hear but thinks he knows he
sees so he leaves
“to sleep” but
doesn’t,

though we were talking about my girlfriend,
flipping tongue tumbles so as to
establish that time whereupon
or, better said, upon which juncture
said partner shall no longer
be my monoamor,
mon amour deuxième,
and we
established it, though
I did not would not will not
betray her.

Dialectic dies with Mnemosyne.
……………Speak, Memory!
……………And she said, “No.”

……………4. The Third Bar
“I shouldn’t touch you like that,”
and yet (and yet and yet) you did
and grinned and spun again a
drunken four-beat
salsa.

Spicy.

Then into my ear,
“He texted and asked
if I’m gonna fuck you.”

“Not right now.”
“That’s what I told him,”
and of course no you
shouldn’t touch me like
hand slow a feather down my chest and
of course no you shouldn’t
apologize and
of course no I
shouldn’t touch you like
chest slow a feather up your hand and
of course no you shouldn’t
apologize, for
I betray you in
the fifth beat,
after a turn:

……………5. The Mars Volta
I realize I have written in your voice:
Georges Bataille says
communication is literal:
……………Co-mun-ication
……………Co: Together
……………mun: Mouth, from German “Mund”
……………ication. Double the
……………em for emphasis.
I have spoken with your tongue
…………………………………and what else?
and we have stirred one
fleshy salsa, fingers
……………………and what else?

entwined, fingers
trace my chest’s
faint lines, and
of course no you shouldn’t
apologize.

Georges Bataille goes on to say
it’s sexy to stick boiled eggs
in your vajay so
should we really trust this schmuck?
……………Men are from…

Your brother, when you sauntered
away to lay an egg:
“Wanna drop us off somewhere
so you two can fuck?”
………………Venus.

“Nah, it’s not like that.”
I am a pigeon-brained empath.
I am a mirror.
I did not would not cannot lie.

If I say he laughed in his style will you
remember it?

……………These are the only words
……………that I hope to hear you say…
……………And she said, “No.”

……………6. Slowness
Once everyone forgot him,
Milan Kundera said
speed is directly proportional to
the intensity of forgetting.

After, on your porch, you
remembered him and said
you’d forgotten everything past
bar one, beer one, but if I
belt it from here can you hear
our “horny” show-tune karaoke?
……………(Quote, your brother’s,
……………shotgun; you, back seat
……………beside Jean-Paul behind
……………me, nauseous.)
Your eyes, as we said our good-nights:
less Schiele’s than shields,
Vyvansed stones colder than
Steve Austin or your
boyfriend’s shoulder,
later,
in bed.

That is,
the prologue lied.
It should have read,
“We were impressionable,
we betrayed ourselves,
she was shitfaced,
so she left her.”

I am a pigeon-brained narcissist.

That is,
what’d you forget?

……………Epilogue,
unnumbered because six
is afraid of seven and
wants to stay that way:
Numbers are for past tense and
none may know the day or hour.
The owl of Minerva?
Shot down by a redneck kid
with a Red Ryder.

And she is twenty,
she’s impulsive,
she’s got time;
Speed betrayed us,
we were angry,
we forgot or
she forgot or
I forgot or
we forgot we
forgot or I…

am patient and
cloyingly earnest as
an ellipsis.

You say you can’t paint lately.
You say you’ve tried to paint
faster.

Try
slower.
One
stroke
at
a
time,
right
down
the
chest.


Jan von Stille lives in Germany and co-edits The Eunuch.

Image banner: germán via Flickr Creative Commons

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