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
on the mountains
to the roof & shout.
Do the movie thing
for the cameras.
Watch the sun
burn out. 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 nicholasbon.com or on twitter @1000000horses.