Paul Guest

Eros Poetica

Always bad form to announce, this is a poem.

I’m not sure why.  As if the few of us

who’ll ever read these lines

might think it anything else:

a letter to a dying monarch;

a guide to constructing something

without discernible parts.  Like love.

Here I am, waiting on the night

to press up against the world

as though all stillness were penitence.

Or practice for your arrival.

For your body.  For the sum of all your cells. 

The billions which you are.

This is a poem.

So is your hair in the night.

Your hair in this composed night.

Bad form, bad manners, bad rhetoric

to say some simple thing like

the sunset glows red.

The moon burns with light

stolen from the sun.

In thinking of you

all else fails the test of artifice.

No longer is there any use in pretending

one thing is another.

I am tired of metaphor.

Whether our souls

are eternal shades,

or functions of biology,

I want you.

Whether your heart is a knot of muscle

beneath your ribs

and the modesty of your breasts;

whether it is a fragile vase

in which you have carried

all your life, here to me,

from a river which even now is shining.



“Eros Poetica” is from Because Everything is Terrible (Diode Editions, 2018).