Nicholas Bon: May 2018 Poet of the Month

The Last Poem of the Year


What is great about a well is that it opens

up to the sky like a young bird, wanting.

There is a place to aim your voice

if you find yourself trapped. Most confines

don’t offer such luxury. Usually the box

only grows smaller around you—

like a child unfamiliar with the lesson

of the finger trap. That is why the lights

burn out and why the bread wasn’t made—

manna was only promised one day at a time.

Remember this as you chip away at the stone

around you, as the room grows smaller,

as everything that surrounds you decides to fall

in. There will not be a dog who will come

to help. Rescue is as much a myth as any.

There is no way forward here. There are

only crappy beach chairs, unease sprouting up

like little flowers that we pluck and put behind

our ears. We post about it on Facebook.

We paint a picture and then watch it evaporate

like soda spilled under a fast food table—

leaving its residue behind in a subtle ugliness.

And it’s still dark here behind the lead walls.

What was it we were promised to find here?

A way forward? The sounds of birds playing in hi-fi,

through the maze of the dark? Not even the stars

give up the points that used to be their positions.

Our eyes are too young to remember when

this was all new, when the boat didn’t have oars.

Or when the boat wasn’t even made. What is it

that makes us human besides the ability to regret?

The hamster does not mourn her litter; the lizard

does not mourn its tail. The repetition of self-

sacrifice. We acknowledge that nothing gets out—

that the same movements repeat in the same places,

that tiiiiime is a flat circle. It builds slowly from foam

cups and Pepsi cans and rocks and lost matches.

It says that any headwind is a sign. As long as we

-’re dreaming, I’d like a new set of lungs and enough

air to fill them. The process doesn’t have to be

longing. The sun might just work perfectly one day,

and that might be that. Maybe we really could live

in a place without want. Maybe none of this

was invented for any real purpose anyway.




I thought there was

a mathematics to this,


but when I rearrange

the equation, nothing


cancels out. A black hole

is too much of something,


not an absence. Picture

every good intention


we’ve ever had, silent

across the event horizon.


Maybe that’s the future—

us lost somewhere on a boat


& the water, always dead.

The gulls drifting


around on the strings

I hung in the rough draft


of this confession. There

's a whole catalog of thoughts


that will never leave.

Bones. What we wrote


in the margin. As if

we're for this world


& its wires. Somewhere

there are people listening


to songs. Somewhere

they are scratching dirty


jokes into the back

of school bus seats.


Somewhere in the world

there are cars on fire.


I can smell gasoline

burning like young love.


Somewhere, there are

people in love,


mouths like contraptions

for making perfect


pancakes. Where nothing

is ever an excuse.


Here, my instruments

are broken & unstrung


for you. I’m unguarded

in my nakedness,


with my declarations

of war against the world


& against myself.

Come join me


in some place new.

We’ll need disguises,


dark glasses, & passports

under different names.


This world is a monolith

of violence & uncaring


party tricks. The universe

& its hazy dad bod


doesn't care at all

about the weather.


So go, set out

onto the water.


Hope that you can

find hyacinths


on the mountains

ahead. Climb


to the roof & shout.

Do the movie thing


for the cameras.

Watch the sun


burn out. Etc.

Etc. Etc.


Nicholas Bon is the author of My Circus Mouth (Ghost City Press, 2018) and the editor of Epigraph Magazine. Their recent poems can be found at (b)OINK, METATRON, Dream Pop Journal, and elsewhere. Find them online at or on twitter @1000000horses.