★ Four Poems by Samuel J. Fox


& I want to make the dawn a new color perhaps something ungodly not gilded maybe a hemorrhage where the moon is a clot of bone & the clouds do not form the shape of a face I once cupped like a handful of river do not form the shape of memories we impose upon them in loneliness for what is this time of day but a resurrection of the same thing that trespassed on our hearts yesterday I did not want to go to the city where love makes a home in another human’s arms I do not want to go to the city where the gutter is a more respectable place to leave our old selves behind I do not want to dream of her any more than I want to paint dawn a color more suitable for waking up hung over from thirsting for a mouth willing to suck the past off my tongue or lick the tears from months ago that I still have not had the grit to wipe away they say every man is an island that’s a gigantic lie every person is an ocean of blood & every palm parted and coraled open is a delta into which every minute flows I want to paint the dawn the same color I feel it’s the most contused blue with the hue of a wilting rose sitting below it the sun a thorn of light pressed against my cheek where a kiss will not suffice to remind me of how warm it feels to be loved by someone else when I refuse to love this silhouette of mine or how it slowly grows longer behind me into a soft wound

& I used to see God as a means to ask for the unaskable to speak embers into the branches of my lungs now I am dead to God for it must be that the field where he sowed his fucks was never reaped for he must be overgrown caring for all of this sorrow he sang into the darkness I stood at midnight on a hill overlooking my town over the clock tower standing stentorian over the cemetery where my kind is rotting in their own soil the stars grinding their nuclear teeth at their wide podium I think the smallest worlds act like the gears in a grandfather clock all of them functional all of them minute when one disappears the chiming of the hours halts every person their own world but somehow when one of us suffers we go on spinning in our own resolution & God is nowhere but holy if holy was a place to reach for and never touch & I am suffering silent a flesh-bag of illuminous, nasty mercy a burning-man made of bone flammable at the touch of mundane miracles God has no part igniting & I want to leave the poem of this world sometimes not knowing who would go on to keep blowing on the fires artists leave behind making unconsumable burning brush of our veins, our terrible souls

& I have tasted the shadow on my tongue like ash it dissolves into a bitter remnant & by shadow I mean a rash of resentment toward this world and its people who may hate me simply because I am my heart plush with blood repeats its same sentence while serving its indelible purpose in my chest & I know as I stagger the sounds of the world out by looking at my phone at photos of people I hardly know at articles declaring the indefinite end of the world I could fall in love with any of these people in this club & the moon sneers a Cheshire grin & the redhead at the bar with me flashes a smile that turns sepulcher every time I look over & isn’t every mouth a graveyard for what is not said I could just as easily draw lines in the clay where one side is love the other hatred & my line be a miniscule crack in the dirt to say it is thin this relationship with the world I so love dissect a life into hours and those hours to minutes and those minutes to seconds & maybe there are approximately thirty that take our breath away I want more than that I confess the only thing I hate about this world is how we treat each stranger the only thing I love about this world is everything is everything is everything & I am no longer afraid to live

& I have sung all the songs of late that penetrated my sternum and made a timpani of my ribcage I wander on with death and coffee her veil of mica-flutter fly wings her dress green like moss on the side of a fallen spruce singing my body may be gone but I hope you carry me on in your heart, in your mind, in your soul singing but I am too weak to be your cure singing I’ve seen fire & I’ve seen rain singing there’s no one in the world like you and I almost believe the words but words don’t believe in us so I make them mean something I taste each breath I take and give it back I keep songs on loop in the pocket of my jeans I keep songs in my hat while the Carolina sky falls to soak me to the soul I keep songs in my ashtray burning while the light rises I keep songs in my passenger seat on those long dark drives to see family who will then pack songs into my ears they themselves arranged when the world grew too dim to see the truth in a lover states away I keep songs in my hand when another wants to beat the ever living shit out of me I will give them to him instead and so death leaves me be to flirt with the rest of the world and I stay my blade I unknot the noose I unload the chamber I close the cap I turn the lights of my porch on late past midnight & keep songs in my throat so if I ever do meet the Lord he will recognize me by my faulty hymns

Samuel J Fox is a queer essayist/poet living in the Southern US; he is poetry editor for Bending Genres and a columnist/reviewer for Five 2 One Magazine. He enjoys coffee shops, graveyards, and dilapidated places, depending. He tweets (@samueljfox).