Because the sun sits on the horizon
I imagine a piano. I hate myself
because I never took piano lessons. I
hate that I
didn’t just see you
at the Coke machine, or walking through the front yard
I know you played in once upon a time. Once in
time. Upon the green
leaves of grass.
Because the sun hovers like
a guitar’s note, I believe I can make
something like a symphony because the light, right
before it leaves the day makes me, for
able to admit
alcoholics do what we can when we can. And
when we can’t, we hide behind our eyes. People like
us cast shadows when
there’s no light.
I am on the edge of asking you
if you ever wish you could be the sound
a guitar-string makes the moment the finger leaves.
I am a man you love to want, love
to want to
want, and I’m a man
who wants to say what he wants, a man afraid of wants.
Not for the part about the girl, but for the end.
There’s always a girl.
an end. You told me once you’d be
the sound a doorstopper makes when it’s flicked.
I keep that under my hat. I keep the idea
of love folded in my wallet, where
I keep the
I’ve accumulated in the last thirty years. You
said, once, I should sit, write out my misguided head.
I said I can’t fight
I hate it. It takes me out of
everything. You said, Stop then; that easy.
I know, I said, I know, but I am not an easy man.
And I hate that about myself. I’m
walking a city
in my mind, a cold in the air acting as if
my Members Only jacket’s not leather, and I’m
never looking up
would have to leave my head. I am
forever walking with the knowledge that
someone somewhere is playing the piano I
never learned to play. In the moments
when I can
get over myself,
I can smile, and when I do I remember once
how I stood in a room lined with strangers and said
my name, I didn’t know
city in my mind had a road
leading back home, if I had a home,
and I remember thinking I was less concerned
with concepts than concretes, remember
difference in trusting
my thoughts and knowing I can enjoy them without
trusting them. The thoughts living in my heart are the
thing I have.
But this city I walk through, this
cold in my fingers as I reach for my
cigarettes and lighter, these brown shoes beneath me,
they’ll just be fictions if I can’t walk
in the door,
take off my jacket,
unwrap my scarf, see home through the heat turned water
on my glasses, which I will drink forever if
I can keep smiling
when I can’t
understand forgiveness’ shape.
by Christian Anton Gerard
Christian Anton Gerard’s first book of poems is Wilmot Here, Collect For Stella (WordTech, CW Books, 2014). He’s received Pushcart Prize nominations, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholarships, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and the 2013 Iron Horse Literary Review’s Discovered Voices Award. Some of Gerard’s recent poems and essays appear in national and international literary journals such as, storySouth, Post Road, Thrush, Redivider, Orion, Smartish Pace, B-O-D-Y, and The Rumpus among others. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Tennessee and lives in Fort Smith, AR, where he’s an Assistant Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Writing at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. Find Christian on the web at www.christianantongerard.com
Work for Monthly Verse is selected through our editorial process. New poems are selected from authors that submitted work for the last issue. Read more authors by subscribing to Fjords.