The life I die moves through the death I live
The life I die moves through the death I live,
mired in a lunar melt of Americana—
a bootstrap wasteland of half-knitted gifts,
bible radio static and Madonna.
The Buddha says it is better to travel
well than to arrive, but he never drove
to Wichita in summer’s oven. Hell
might be other people, but let me give
the weather its due, revving its swelter
up for vaporization as the route
shimmies, briny with the sweat of faltering
landscapes, each one imaginary as
memory, our first death.
Turn the key. Shift out
of R. Take life’s wheel, and give it some gas.
The door opens to a street like in the movies
The door opens to a street like in the movies,
a man in a trench coat folds a newspaper,
flips up his collar, peers at his watch. He’s
waiting for someone. And then he sees her—
a bottle blonde gleaming in a black maillot
top, an alchemy that can’t be stopped.
She’s pearl light & film noir hard. A plot
is concocted: a fool & a frame are the props,
so is the fog in the street, the taxi idling
on the corner, the crawling sky. Iced moon. From
a distance, the camera trails him. He’s walking
into the aperture, the gods-eye end of him,
pausing to catch a last glint of silk-stocking thighs,
as the pistol trills, “Give my love to the sunrise.”
Simone Muench is the author of five full-length books including Orange Crush (Sarabande, 2010) andWolf Centos (Sarabande, 2014). Her chapbook Trace received the Black River Award (BLP, 2014). A recipient of a 2013 NEA fellowship and the 2014 Meier Foundation for the Arts Achievement Award, she currently collaborates with Dean Rader on a book titled Frankenstein Sonnets.
Dean Rader’s debut collection of poems, Works & Days, won the 2010 T. S. Eliot Prize, and his 2014 chapbook,Landscape Portrait Figure Form was a Barnes & Noble Review Best Poetry Book of the Year. He is a professor at the University of San Francisco and the editor of 99 Poems for the 99 Percent: An Anthology of Poetry. He writes and reviews regularly for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Rumpus, and The Huffington Post. A new book of poems,Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry, is forthcoming in 2016 from Copper Canyon. Other “Frankenstein Sonnets” (with Simone Muench) have appeared or will appear in American Poetry Review, Blackbird, Zyzzyva, Columbia Poetry Review, New American Writing, The Economy, Handsome and many others.