for Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens
This is an immaterial poem about a ghost,
name of Dennis. I appear less important
to those few among you who knew me
when I was composed more realistically.
Once my empty sockets seemed like evil
eyes to you, and you had no idea their
trick wasn’t great art. Now I barely exist,
but train your sights on this nevertheless.
It’s past your bedtime. I’ve painted myself
into a corner. A ghost has been sketched
here haphazardly. I’m still myself but inspire
no illusions no matter how I’m executed.
To believe in a ghost was small potatoes.
next to the fear in your eyes. I scared you.
All I was is this marked up white sheet, so
I ask you again. Read into my black holes.
I want to be cremat-
ed. How about you?
Buried. I don’t want
to go that far away.
Like Craig L., journalist, hopelessly in love with the fourteen year old bassist of Red Kross but prevented by law from confessing his feelings or getting said rock star drunk enough to grope or blow him unbeknownst. So Craig raves about Red Kross in the Los Angeles Times and gets to be the kid’s best friend and watch him skinny dip one night in his parents’ backyard pool, and that’s enough. Or Steve O., med student, who bought some unrequited sex with a fourteen year old Mexican who’d snuck into the States from Tijuana. Jorge looked staggering in clothes but just poignantly poor and addicted to heroin without them, though Steve is too consumed these days with getting him off dope to remember how that felt. Steve can’t begin to taste or smell what made their life together worth it. So he works the lack of love into his usual feelings and calls it friendship.