Two Poems

Self-Portrait As Failed State

​So begins my apology for my body,
to my body. October Something,

four o’clock, this is a photograph
of my feelings: the leaves strewn

with sidewalk, everyone upset
with me. It all reminds me

of five years ago, when, of course,
we didn’t have these problems.

I miss the old problems. The needle
in me spins and spins but never lands

on GO. Like me, my body doesn’t know
or want to know what’s best for it.

My head is smoke. My chest is an anvil.
Whoever or whatever it is that operates

this sorcery on me has cut sleep out
of its burrow and assumed its place;

still I’m always able to find new
shadows, new clods to animate

in me—rocks that in shifting light
turn out to be sparrows, choruses

to rasp every single tired mantra
of love, of loving, of not being loved.

The World

Then we walked through the elmy decay
overhanging the world. When I wake

in the ahistorical dark to feel the clay,
unkilned, of my chest, I still mark the time

when I was your grasshopper, slowly
getting better, rounding myself closer

to a final integer. You liked to doven
at your piano, crafting my name with wire

and hammer, using your science to hatch
primaeval nymphs, fly-winged, unready.

But I won’t dwell. In the version at hand
I use my own daft compass, the bad math

of it, to read the sky, to find in its grid
the particular square of screen door

that harbors the heavens’ most irksome
mosquito. Back to sleep in the Bed

Outside Time, my noctilucent thoughts
demand comfort—dear earthlings, I say,

you are so much more than your smoke
signals, but they want only the myth

of you, your waking again from stone.
If you come back come back to me

as lanthanum, brittle and spooky and rare,
and I will lend you a bundle of capillaries

from my cheek, a lock of hair—make of me
what you will. Don’t leave me as this shape

in bed, muck of sheets over spur of hip,
the rocks that reveal nothing, never

                   having revealed themselves.

GERARD COLETTA is originally from Boston, but currently lives in Brooklyn. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Open Citydeath humsPrint-Oriented Bastards, and elsewhere.
The Adirondack Review