i came home to paul newman young & alive on my television. the woman i live with was watching an old western with her friends, the kind where every living thing in it now’s long dead: the teen heartthrob, the smack talking grandma, the hollywood cattle—their thespian calves, dead

would you do paul newman? i asked.      is that even a question?      each replied, laughing, admiring how well the character fit in      his professionally tailored jeans. all his good deeds & charity still somewhere ahead of him, all his kind age & salad dressings

it’s a strange thing, wanting to fuck a dead man

the aged pin ups abandoned in lockers in abandoned factories. the stills of soap white torsos in leather jackets. all our parent’s & their parent’s before who panted & cantered & pulled each other’s hair

recently, just before orgasm, i see my first lover. not how he is now of course, in a suit, in a coffin, in the ground—skin drying out around his nails & hair, a stone planted above his head reads      his good dead name

but rather, as he was then, impossibly young & illuminated. all his life ahead of him, all his skin opening under my hands, all his mouth that let out a bright beam of white projector light

give me back those nights in pictures. give him back to me burned into film,      splayed across the brilliant marquee of my carpet.

it is a strange thing, wanting to fuck a dead man, or wanting a man or wanting the dead back

give me back my young lover, hard & furious & living with a curse for god, with a god on his tongue

 

 

 

sam sax
is a 2015 NEA Fellow and finalist for The Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He’s a poetry Fellow at The Michener Center for Writers where he serves as the Editor-in-chief of Bat City Review. He’s the two time Bay Area Grand Slam Champion & author of the chapbooks, A Guide to Undressing Your Monsters (Button Poetry, 2014) + sad boy / detective (Black Lawrence Press, 2015) + All The Rage (SRP, 2016). His poems are forthcoming in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Best New Poets, Boston Review, Indiana Review, Pleiades, New England Review, Poetry Magazine, other journals.

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