San Francisco with Emily

we were in a bar when the lines
from scans of emily dickinson
pages passed confusedly through
my brain. i tried to chat you up
by waving my pabst blue ribbon
and referencing the hour of lead.

perhaps the kinship of death and
sex was never more apparent
than in the ironic use of
an abstaining teetotaller’s words
by a deliriously drunk
english major, trying to get
you into his ample single
bed.

but i will take you home tonight
to make up for a felt absence,
and i will take you home tonight
— and we must dash — to make up for
the space between us, because i
am not afraid of death, i’m just
afraid of all that comes before.

sorry for my slurry meter,
sorry, emily, for using you like
this. in the Mission District with
one objective, so callously
male, so callously iambic,
so showy-offy, insincere.

and i’m nobody, who are you?
i guess you’re a nobody too,
nobody left in this nowhere bar
with useless quotes, aphorisms,
and everything you thought you knew,
but lacking, still, the belief there’s
a future beyond the next beer,
the next taxi, the next intimacy —

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