Your cane, splintered, hanging on a hook
on the wall. Append another fetish to the
fridge with a magnet. Put another fetish
in a frame beneath the lamplight
muddy & transitional. Another testament
we endure solemnity, too soon but often longer
than you’d wanted
The cross, hanging on your door, is torture
like a bandaid. Torture is a talisman, homespun, a judgement
somehow, eye level with every visitor
My orgasm is a bandaid for mourning
A practiced moaning, rite
to & from eternity. Here I dreamt of you last night:
a distorted repetition of my youth. You, alive,
not recognizing me in the freezer aisle
furious with the world, unable to unclench your jaw to speak,
a straying, curious mylar balloon
tied around your neck. This is the cheapest futon you could find, I remember
There was vomit on the carpet the night we found you.
There is new paint partially done in the room now
Vacant, a pentimento to be forgotten by
sale & more death I suppose. & Here
I checked the kitchen before dawn. To see
You’re not glistening red anymore. Your habit for vaseline,
a sole remainder in the bathroom drawer.
You were blue in the face, I saw you leave like that
I saw you in a dream, the same only for your limping
like too many years. How I remember you
The missing voice & all
Hollowing across a listing price
a state line soon, a fracture
R. Sam Ross:
I like my lines to trouble rigidness, and in “Elegy” I’m mismatching boundaries between grief and sexuality. I played with images to give mourning conceptual texture, indexing (among other things) my personal experience with Christian symbols’ repressive roles in domestic spaces.
The poem is a recollection of the body. It’s an elegy remembering my grandpa. It’s an inventory of some physical remnants of possession after loss, and at the same time, an expression of disidentification with austere, evangelical values. It’s an attempt to reconcile original love with increasing distance and parochial morality.
Though it’s lyric, I want my poems to extend transitive imaginations—to move freely outside of totalized narrative. On an improvised conceptual map, “Elegy” observes and traverses an empty house preparing for market, self-pleasure, the surreality of dream, and dream’s close but most often faltering connection to waking memory.