I can’t hurt you/ fire

21 Jul


I can’t hurt you



if you take down a painting off the wall

you must replace it with something else to see

I have black eyes, insomnia and regret that buys the bottles

(the man, crooking at the knees like a semicolon behind the bulletproof partition, says the Barton’s blended is the cheapest brown they got – $13.99 per liter)

you have black eyes, tears and too much eyeliner

(there were promises unkept, ruffled feathers and miles passed along Michigan in silence)

I commissioned you for renewal

you said, “man, that’s just some hippy shit!”

and kissed me

there was salt from the tears

but also apricots tasted

I gather, from the lips

and my own happy childhood pangs

of sentimentalizing a dacha and an apricot tree a few houses down

where my first girl

– the color of error and sunflowers

both of us six, we were married;

for a long summer at least –

she showed me how to get to the fruit of that tree

we had to climb a fence

a few skinned knees and some sweetness

a daring in two sets of eyes

a pulpy and blurred harvest buried peregrine

syrupy under the innocence that time has slung atop it

and now all I see is train tracks

endless trips, vocational commitments

loneliness and overcrowding, monthly support payments

stretch marks, a swelling gut that burns

the gnomon has begun to cast its shadow over me

and don’t get me wrong,

I’ve seduced some pleasure from this game

but only spades, the bitch is always on my back

she talks too much

jealous when I’m trying to concentrate

to write, to make you come

to stick around or just to blink

it all takes focus

a certain dematerialization

a desertion, but she keeps on talking

a susurrous coercion   

to accept

how far I’ve gone to please these walls

how much there is still left to do

the fruit there is still left to plunder

how I can’t hurt you

you are fire

you were meant to burn me whole

while I am vainly fighting back


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Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings

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