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Digital Poetics #33 A Thousand Times Before by Stu Watson

it’s everything you want to say I understand and am agreeable to comply because by now the light has burned me so I cannot propositionally logic backwards through the portholes to points where I might only hypothesize this awkwardness now fuschia felt across frequency ranges from off my cheeks and in this watershed I fear marathons athwart me rushing crowded horde towards skin’s plateglass limits barrages the pheromones takes walled up so clutching towards good blockage ladles out ripe mouths schismaticized at a cross of street ways light-held wire drapes sling up sag eyes roll slow slump back in blood rushing catapults of pulp board filigree ideals inside her furniture now sing lifting new bottles out their whirring sand spun decanters marbled through with shades of bend come lysosome tracked car scorn chip pump of new wine cranked angle sends incertitude through rhythms cloying nocte tua morte mio as in that last embrace so flannelled over in the gray lights of Woonsocket by fisher cat strewn meadows where a golden houred golf course might have stood moss dripping motivated slung down as with real vigor and underneath it all the years for me the unsettling knowledge of hollow impermanence and doom that things could not even begin to work and now the angle of time clears us of grave attractions slowly ghoulishness of death in pleasure etc it comes across much differently then when it is you as the animals all die and drift away and continents of plans spool into the carriage house made now your home descending into a space of former grandeur like the cracked canyon evoked in tape-hiss cathedral I can still remember the way that I felt weeks in happy in the unexpectedness strange horror difficulty then unfolding inside bereft of structures outside personality to give a track like fluency to burdensome world weary scram to price cloud stichomythic interplay on how my tongue tended not to dance right moving outside self-consciousness where introductions always take too long and then the main event is ruined in the afterglow of too much praise too many things all happening for the first time at once and the unstable element underneath it all some fascination lost spark need block root contraption obsessed bold break from fractured distraction in this new moment corrupted in judgment lost so long together only finally in exasperation it had to break author gone too far spare expectations in the east and all that weight | and then I came a year later out west to tell you I was gay again like when we first met and it seemed to make sense except of course led nowhere sliding into possibilities seemingly walled off by disagreeable turns in my nature making me repellent or an object of violence to those I most desire so riddled in shame love like a sword and not the beginnings of unfolding slain before life by conditions of censure slicing worlds into what’s believable and what just traces slowly the outlines of our future together in some spiral of spiking heat and fueled by distraction seeing structures in themselves as bladed to cut and exclude you at your most secret nature which of course even when unseen is known and felt like an odor of death on the battlefield of conforming to the unspoken secret covenant of despoilment all have resigned to however non-coformingly they carry themselves marching in the name of personal fulfilment little lines of sportive greed made nature in adherence to a self-consumed conception of the other so we sat in the Hari Krishna temple with the ancient talking cat now long dead and I felt a new erratic fragility attempting to leave one phase behind while embarking on another radically different but it was still there in then the whole hollow burning like one of those fad ear candles from the nineties funnels for removing ear accumulate by flame like the inside of that fibrous wax cone I felt an empty cylinder of molten junk deployed only by means of inauthentic media babble bought up in a rush of feelings for cleanliness I was the diode where the allergens all gathered and the best new-fangled sensor and since then nothing hangs desire feels it cuts one way misdrawn to people who have already made their deal not caring for potential what is obviously difficult oh let us be sublime ripped apart Pentheus and all of that come what may I seek long over waters craving cudgeling tender care identical if blasted from the real heart flood of catalogued riposte in dialogic swirl in breaking want’s fast equinoctial oblivion where roads open up to no place home paradise you top us utopos clustered in a knotted fist either side it goes back to that night of disinhibition another manic moment of release outside I finally let something of me be available and the consequences could not have been more dire except of course it always could have been worse but even coming towards it so many years later the other person long dead his funeral itself a distant memory I cannot help but feel myself slip and stall into another mood the images of fire and hollowness and darting play all gone replaced with an exasperated memory of my own voice echoing “why did you do that?” and us sitting nearly naked in a bathroom and then me sadly almost weakly “you didn’t even do it well” as if that were the issue the aesthetic failure of his act of rape the total betrayal of a suddenly radically open friend because he’d struck out earlier with women and I didn’t even know this might be possible when first we sat down on the couch like so many other times me lost on the edges of drunkenness and then he was just kissing me so hard it was like nothing I’d ever imagined so much alien in its force its knowing what it wanted in the tongue’s objectifying press to say speaking to my throat it was in charge and unmitigatable no parsing of the language possible and later how my friend made jokes to you at a dinner party about me and him how everybody knew except of course what they knew was not the whole thing and even I don’t know how we got into the bathroom or when his dick came out into my face but I can still remember gagging with revulsion and being turned suddenly around and him saying “Shut up Stu, you’ve done this a thousand times before” when in actual point of fact I’d never done anything like this with anyone nothing close I’d never had intercourse with any kind barely kissed a boy in an alley a girl on a trip despite being twenty two years old I was a virgin until that night and all I could say about it was that it happened and there was no thought of recourse or revenge or anything it just sat there like an anger and when I saw him again my friend didn’t let me be alone with him despite the pretense shared by us all that everything was fine and we were all friends and later when you and I were together and I imagined my family thrilled I was finally straight when they probably no longer cared I only saw him once on a street corner and he looked tired and broken by disease and drugs and seemed so sad and I knew he was sad and then he wrote me when Derrida died as if to show he still cared about me enough to know that I would care and of course I did but did not know what to make of his writing me then after so long a year after it happened and his life had fallen apart by then expelled from school for mania or something worse and then a few months later he was dead and I was standing at his memorial beside a river and everyone was so sad but unsurprised and you were not well and I felt halted without an effort to break through and just went back to work and we kept on until we couldn’t and I was sitting in the abandoned Hari Krishna Temple four years later with you suddenly aflame with hope and love for a new person I already by then should have known this relationship could not amount to much outside my mind and I was the one fully sensate now it seems to me free from self-consciousness and awful in unbalanced want though it was good for then though not for any future and I lean awkward now as all this sits here and I stand looking out the plate glass windows at the people looking in the windows ship rocking with a nervous electricity and all I want to do is get out of this sweltering room and have a smoke there by the stoplights and corner where the traffic passes through that long unmarked section of intersection roadway perfectly like a rock with a rope tied to it flung from one person to another across a gap

This poem is included in Stu Watson's collection Communicatingroups


Stu Watson is a writer and artist who lives in Brooklyn. A founder and editor of Prelude and Prelude Books, his first collection, Communicatingroups, was published by C&R Press in 2020.


This publication is in Copyright. Stu Watson, 2021.

The moral right of the author has been asserted. However, the Hythe is an open-access journal and we welcome the use of all materials on it for educational and creative workshop purposes.

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