Poetry

In the Casino

By: Frankie Lyon

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PART ONE
(Paris)

My tongue is the beginning of trouble,
My body the end.

Some days I am an outlaw. I see things
Others don’t: grime
At the bottom of the canal. Organ-grinders
Moving fast behind every carriage, careful
To block out sounds of hunger

Sneaking my way through this language
in nighttime bursts
Of moans and mornings I spend
remembering
Shouting for Home unsure of just what it is
to be so strangely thirsty

PART TWO
(At the Schoolyard)

From sufficient distance you can see him turning yards above
The oval of the gravel field. In his big shirt, flowery and wind-whipped
He smiles like a gem, alone for hours in the morning here
Out of reach…
Time sails, the recess boy never quite coming in
Bending space in beneath his footprint
Galileo knows
the lens of a turkey vulture
Turned to the sparkle night in his shadow.
Daytime all the while crashes
From his floating heels to the floor, collecting himself
in the octagonal shades
And translucent gleam of cosmos.

PART THREE.
(The Road Out)

You know about Jerry — phenom on
Motorcycle. Shirtless jailbird prodigy
Leaning maybe too far into the genre
Of boy-boy becoming men

He says to keep it close to sister —
For contrast. He says composition is the first
Of the art classes: bursts of sunrise orange
Are only orange in relation to the night.

Gender semiotics, diagramming, the math
Of twos and threes and fives
Eighty percent of the country is illiterate
Of this particular calculus. Jerry rambles

By tendency. But it adds carefully to greater motive
Perhaps the motorcycle route he says
The wind can really do something to a man —

What mean? you said.

The future boy is yours. He says Proceed
Forward. Maintain distance as does the famous
Martian in the sand —

What mean, you said.

He says Nevermind. Just hang on
to your throat.
The wind is nasty today.

PART FOUR.
(Dance)

So unselfconscious, body in beat
A dozen eyes on me like fuel. Show is the nature of all
Interaction. There is no not-performance.

My fathers advised as much, coolly, a cigar
In his teeth and buffeting. Stravinsky. Gay
On the colorless south avenues of Tucson
Roaming ellipses around the corners of shops
And taking nothing for questions. Do you know

Why the oracle at Delphi demanded self-knowledge?
“Who, my friend, is asking the question?”
The trick of the oracle is to stack questions
On questions until submission or fatality.

Intention counts for nothing. Only result,
Only my bones in dance and the front of the class
Turning, fit to the slamming of orchestra and the thin
Russian man who’s architectured my demise

Each stage is best
Inhabited by the lone creature. The ultimate solitude
up here,
Losing even the company of myself
And reaching in, somehow, to the heart as it is
Properly called. Body, body, don’t
Leave me before I kiss goodbye. I need
you here.

PART FIVE.
(Moving)

In Arizona I am told
to brush my teeth and laugh
In Burbank, the illusion disappears

And in Paris all my identities condense
In Paris everything is ordinary:
my skin on yours
my blood in the food
Sex is void of symbol. Our bodies here
are bodies.

In Frisco they stole my youth,
however freakishly
I saw cockroaches on the floor
He offered me a shower
And expected currency of Love
or Owsley
And I told him I had nothing.

But here in the white tile
and the water-pressure of 15 skins
It is all the same. Your sex and mine
will wash away in the pipes
Where even the concept of togetherness fades
Our sweat and cum and grime
in true sex
Draining for the Ocean

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