Jay Aquinas Thompson

Art: Ladies and Gentlemen… Mr Leonard Cohen


bare trees flare & blood
rushes up—–on a pink lawn
the moon imprints itself
riding—-in my three coats I’m
pin-pricked & brimming over
electrified & singing whitely
hot & cold at once


I don’t like your burning-jewel poetics
I say life’s not like that
not from any theory the chestnut leaf
icicles & drops heavy off its bough when I flip through your book
& my sweaters feel a tiny bit
warmer than the drawer they’re in


the completed throb goes through me
when I see the unhefted dumbbell my cock gets
stiff when I think of a certain mouth
the cowboy sings yesterday’s dead
& tomorrow’s blind & the café people turn
sweet as soon as the snow
starts to stick stirring in cream


moon-scarred ceilings & marble walls
somewhere wide & dark
where your rippleless voice drops
it isn’t good—–to slip into
that room-temperature chamber
where no voice says I
& no finger scratches AM


times I’ve circled the room
panting for the comfort
of my comfort things
times I’ve watched myself from the dark
naked & disgraced
come and credit lines all
subtle in the channels of my body


my face swells in the teaspoon
a sentence of Michael Palmer’s
your hair’s heavy barley
color catches light did you hear
we detect
distant planets from their—–stars’ wobble
now & taste their atmospheres in silhouette


I alone
—–met him a

second time
—–fridge weathering


as if


snowfall so
—–heavy it

floats like


You know now what I didn’t know then

that becoming is secret—–like a curl of smoke

like a plural sky

permanent day

that wintersmell

of slowed rot—–waking up & wailing


Days we prune—–& fret for teacher

A city crew cuts the brains out of my oak

to run powerlines

& railed sky through—–bud-knobs daubed

by rain—–days despite

their lived thickness—–gone full gone


The dying windowbox kale

a face

I can’t stand to look at the way

the moon seems

to contract in its—–climb past landscape

where have you been & what have you done


The sun teaches me its green tiger grammar

the Christmas tree snaps up—–a Section 8 block on short sale

& bursts the girders

with its deaf flame

the Sunday breadline circles

the slum block of the sergeant’s throat to strangle him


someone taught us abundance so

we burned the bare cherry trees

named the trick bowl grief

we found empty

& overflowing—–fanned our-

selves with handfuls of snow

Jay Aquinas Thompson is a poet, essayist and critic with recent work in Denver Quarterly, Berfrois, The Conversant, Kenyon Review Online, THEthe_poetry, and Poetry Northwest, where he’s a contributing editor. He lives with his family in Seattle, where he teaches creative writing to incarcerated women.

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