by Sam Donsky
Define sex & then define city. Either way
I am riding a horse to the center of it.
Whatever metaphor you’re offering
you should have offered sooner;
whichever membership you’re voting on
I’m flattered but abstain. For the last time
here’s how I got the stitches: I wrote an email
to X about coming undone. “Don’t say that
in print,” one is warned, sort of constantly,
but it’s 2010 & if your emails
aren’t poetry by now I don’t know.
One either learns or one doesn’t. One
either invents a new thing or writes
forever of old ones: telephone, guillotine,
Facebook—It’s cool. City, boredom,
summer’s end: it’s True Love, the name
of the horse, I mean, the names of my
very worst emails, the name of the
box in which I keep my favorite
country-pop ballads. I’m writing this
(if you’re reading this) out of generational
grief; that’s a joke; out of coffee or gin,
maybe; out of bad wood; out of brain-freeze;
out of the palm of my heart-arranging,
dominant hand: my kiss-blower
my air-pistol my thumbs-up jam.
(My high-five my West Side my fuck you
my peace.) I am about to invent
a brand-new version of sex: it’s called
Philadelphia in October & it’s rife
with acceptance: my hair thinning
toward the finish-lines of temperate
coasts; your skirt & genius held aloft
like two dolls in a box. “Off with their
heads” — that’s the punch-line. That’s the
love in return, that’s the world on the street.
I am about to invent a brand-new
strain of the city: it’s called Sex in October
& it’s sheathed in bad books: Grim Reaper:
The Collected Poems; Ivy League Cleavage:
A Novella. Each day a new one on sale.
Each day a knock at the door; each night
a change of address. Each step a phone call,
a brick, a stitch in the body’s abstention.
Until everything I’ve ever invented
comes-to: printing press, country-pop,
split-atom—It’s cool. Today I call X
& then again a day later: the sequel
flops badly & there won’t be a third.
“We weren’t ready,” they’d remark,
“& you’d aged in between.” Define sex
& then define city. With every
moment I am remapping
my answer. With every sentence
we are brand new; are less wretched;
are reinventing the horse
or re-escaping from bed.
Sam Donsky is a graduate student in Philadelphia. He is in the process of writing 100 poems for 100 films.