Emil Nolde (German, 1867 - 1956)
Dancing Couple (Tanzendes Paar), N/D
tonights are broken glass
and in the honest hours how you howl
at the moon in shards and justifiably
dip your legs skinny and sincere
into a star mirrored sea
named My Open Mouth
tonights my stomach full as
the fix is in, from fifty lashes,
ten hail mary’s, to a singular
"I am going to one day die,"
this body’s weight is sacraficial
tonights towards nothing else
massacre of should’ve known betters
as ceaseless love falls into itself
when that wouldn’t stop you
tarpaulin on wooden stretcher
134.8 x 81.5 cm
and perfect fits for half-hyperboles. wedged
and that beneath in swollen glands in how
we told our history. might as well have stabbed
me at the airport terminal. who am i to die
anyways. didn’t you know i didn’t know you
well enough to know myself in. this way.
how is it always falling out of mouths. hell of
an arm you have on ya, hell of a lot of things
when habit happens get talkative or speak
of these bleeding machines on empty stomachs
always hungering never unbuckling the belt.
switch notches, never sanctified a fly, never
prayed to the proper god, who’s name is
always escaping on the wispy breaths of
they-say-they’re believers. and sure enough.
but i can’t add it up anymore, can’t tell
if this is leading up to something. maybe
for you there is a white picket heavenly ordeal
i’ve seen you brighter than the sun and
cried when I didn’t want to be a bad person
saying that, when now it feels no different
than basement dwelling nights bleaching
skin and plier teeth, how does it feel to know
that you got what you deserved. what is the
difference between confession and apology
if it comes out in these poorly-ordered words.
what i wanted to say is, i’m still waiting on that
one-day-when i can forgive like you can but
not like before. now everything old is new again.
Illustration from ‘An ABZ of Love,’ Kurt Vonnegut’s favorite vintage Danish guide to sexuality. (x)