Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Lion With References to Sontag’s “Unguided Tour” by Jamie Carr


This is the last stop, kid.
Ferry boats like giants.
When you left for London, you started with my eyes.
“Come on Lion,” I said. “Say it like you mean it.”
And you did. Tasted like metal.
The thugs and the clowns and the tourists,
I was all of them and none.
Excuse me ma’am, have you seen a part?
It’s missing.
Penny for a trick, penny for your taste,
the image of you eating kiwis with the skin on.

The man and the story of the man are one.
You and the Lion are one (because of the nick-name I gave you).
Now, Shithead. I am one.

Don’t. Here. In my left hand you’d bite down, teething on my pinky. But they say all is fair if you take turns. Harder, I said back then. We were in our early twenties and wanted scars and lived in our underwear. Again! What is it that connects us to our childhood? A creature. A fable. The game.
Dancing in your mother’s living room, I pressed into your chest.
You said, “I’ll remember this.”
I said, “But I’m still here.”
Your turn!
Are you listening?

I’m still here.

The end of us smells like Pretzels, doughy poison.
O, somewhere in another town is a richer girl who can fox trot and meringue.
Who knows butter yellow and doesn’t wage wars in her sleep.
Now that Billie, she’s an old news user. Not like me.
“Jesus,” you said. “Do you have to do that now?”
I find myself digressing onto the small ledges of bathtubs.
You made me hurt.

Where are we going Lion?
Amended: Where am I without you?
Syntax is everything, pronouns, verbs, P.O.V.
If Levis writes that the future is the saddest tense it’s because, Lion, we’ve lost kingdoms
in one sentence. The could have been versus the is.
I know what a fucking sunflower looks like, Jamie.
All hail the power of dialogue, the gun in the room that has to go off.
I just never knew when.
After all, July was a blood orange moon.
We ate egg scrambles on the patio next to Henry’s.
You know, you can’t get it all down, you said, eyeing my furious scribble.

Receipt from the Historical Society, the rust on my necklace from a pool of water on your bathroom sink, a preference for waking up hysteric, those damn teeth marks on my hand, seed between my legs. Some evidence gets weaker with time, some disappears

But we never even took a picture.
That voice: You know, you can’t get it all down.

Davinchi observed the insides of cadaver’s to learn his art. What do writers rip open? I’d watch you dress in the mornings. How you’d stand in the mirror by the bed and run hands over your own sunken body, pulling at bones for ghost fat, fingering the hollow in your
cheeks and under your eyes.

Some days, I hated your vanity.

And your morning bowl of Grapenuts.

And your afternoon jogs in Riverside Park.

It’s the only way to let you go.