after Anthony Opal’s cento sonnets
In the wet dreaming room seventeen and a half boys
masturbate on seventeen and a half make-believe beds,
sleeping hands tied round seventeen and a half blue roses
blooming to the organ-grinder’s song.
In every way, they are their sustained melodic breakdown,
un-adorned emotion cast off outside our atonal
scudding. O let me dream not the logic of boats
but of rooms billowing with brackish wine,
you and me lost at sea, reed-deep in the technical journals.
We are a helpless make-believe presence deteriorating
except in alcohol. Do you want me to take off my human
myself? Sailboat, frail boat—ugly and marvelous body!
There is no such thing as a patternless universe.
There is really no such thing as a birdless place.
Annelyse Gelman is a California Arts Scholar, the inaugural poet-in-residence at UCSD’s Brain Observatory, and recipient of the 2013 Mary Barnard Academy of American Poets Prize. She has new work in Hobart, The Destroyer, The Economy, Indiana Review, and elsewhere, and is the author of the poetry collection Everyone I Love is a Stranger to Someone (Write Bloody, 2014). Find her at www.annelysegelman.com.
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