Poetry Suite by Isaak Frank

Editor Carrie Seitzinger, Poetry, July 31st, 2017

"...the water-washed iron of the sky glittering with pride..."

Isaak Frank Poetry Nailed Magazine
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

“And We Were Drenched in Empty Light”

 

Summer days were two boys sitting in an open shed, going through porn magazines –
…………laughing at the bend of the bodies, the knees and the joints;
wondering, even then, how two people can be so full of one another / and yet
………………….so empty – the fledgling thresh of their voices
……….tumbling from a nest in the far-up tree of their throat, we wondered
.at the Diesel machines of their bodies – the crop-turners, all blades
rotating just slowly enough not to catch in each other / Motors and turbines,
…………………..the open-mouth arch of the fake / the kitten-curl
………..tightness of the real – we imagine the man across the street, sitting
alone in an empty dining room / the birch tree of his body, stripped of a wife,
and something folds open inside of us: and in this way we understand,
for the first time, what it is to grieve –
………..the switchblade, what is means to miss somebody / even before they die.

+ + +

“The Valedictorian”

 

He is on the dock, pinned down by the summer stars and the stale July heat
that wraps the edge of the lake / it is an anesthetic and an annihilation,
a brand-wound through the skin of the soul / He needs someone to tell him
to feel victorious, that he has come and he has conquered – but above him
there is only atmosphere / empty and ethereal – his envy of it is like a force
of nature, he feels his eyes burning on the edge of tears / Around him, the lake
spreads out like a half-forgotten dream, the water-washed iron of the sky
glittering with pride / He wants to scream, he wants a voice to tear through
the heavens – a tongue that turns stars off like porch lights;

He returns to the dorms like a war hero / Not the one who survived, but the one
who became – overcame and ascended / At night he closes his eyes and sees
himself in watercolour, the painting of a boy being pitched from the end
of a dock / His body disappearing beneath the starving mouth of the waters,
and he holds this in his imagination – wakes up with a waterlogged mouth,
takes his drowned heart out to dinner and makes love to it / Here is the boy
becoming a mermaid – calm and calcified / Studying the difference between
boy and buoy – wanting to be one, becoming the other.

+ + +

“Waist-Deep in the Rabbit Hole”

 

I am making a pact with the dogs that roam, ravenous at the edge of the city dump / they smile
……………………………………………………………………………………too-human smiles, ………..say:
we will not bother you much longer – ……….dead things do not interest us for long /
.Do you think they know, how desperate I am to keep you alive – they are hundreds,
silhouettes arching over broken-out televisions, ribs pressing out through the leather
of their skin, lips pulled back over wolves’ teeth / re-teaching themselves….. how to hunt –
………………………………………………………….They are forgetting civility, surrendering
their hope of a home to come back to for mouse meat – chasing off the black bears and the coyotes
that come sniffing /
…………stiffening as a waterplane tears the sky open overhead;

Sometimes, I think that this is the heart of the North-West – the dump, a silver-grey kaleidoscope
under the white eye of the sun /
……………………………..me, a boy with a pillowcase trailing behind him like a cape,
…………letting his legs dangle over the edge of the chain-link fence /
…………………………………………………………….I strike matches and flick them
at a broken sand bucket between a fridge and a minivan – fire
…………………………………………………..the only thing that keeps the dogs away –
………………………………………..I watch them turn on a rabbit instead: the small white body
………….appearing from the other side of the road – immediately pinned under teeth /
………………………………………..the dogs unstringing muscle from bone, like some terrible
..instrument – I finger the matchbox like a talisman of safety:
…………………………………………………..the rabbit corpse built of yarn,
…………………………………………………………….unraveling across the asphalt below me.

+ + +

“Tear-Away Boyhood Stickers”

 

The first boy I let touch me was on hard drugs with names that I could not pronounce,
…………………………………………………………………………………………………..leaning against
………………a workbench in the back room of a boathouse party / a green beer bottle dangling from two fingers, eyes closed as he drank the music into his body,
……………../////…when he moved: so much light escaped, a toothpick clipped
between the hard lines of his lips /
……………………………..He was bad – when we first spoke, or rather didn’t speak /
scratching the lottery ticket of my body away with the penny of his tongue – I was a lucky number,
…………our fingers braided / When it was over, he lay on the old dock and watched me dress –
..misquoted Plath,
…………said something about absolution, washed the absinthe of my taste out from his mouth / Promised me – I don’t remember what;

The second boy I let touch me was in my basement bedroom, the darkness draped over me like
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………wet sheets /
his body, a racehorse – hard-lined and intolerable, and me: trying to pry ocean salt out of his skin
with my mouth / drinking prosecco,
……………………………breaking walnuts between our teeth and trading them back and forth,
fishing in the washed-up stream of his mouth / I was a fly trapped under a pint glass, moving
back and forth – unknowing ..and ignoring the unstoppable engine of consequence –
I remember the wetness best / ……like a carosene lamp spilled underneath the pillows, soaking
…………………………………………………………………….,,,slowly up through
the skin that we shared – the second boy was half mermaid /
…………………………………………………..If he had asked, I would have given up the shore –
………………………………………………………………………………………../he knew. He never asked;

The third boy I let touch me saw a mountain lion –
…………………………………………………………..two hundred pounds of hunger and hunters’ instinct /
traced his index finger down my open palm while we lay in bed, as though feeling for
…………………………………………………………………………………………..claws beneath the skin –
took a switchblade to his hair in the bathroom of a local convenience store,
asked whether the animal of my body craved him like this – blonde curls falling
…………………………………………………………………………………………..into the porcelain bowl
…………………………………………………………………………………………..at his waist /
I should have known that he was wild-game hunting, and when the twin rifles of his eyes
leveled off on me – I would have to make a choice: I chose me,
……………………………………………………………..I will always choose myself.

+ + +

Featured image courtesy of Theo Gosselin. To view his photo essay, “Vagabonds,” go here.

Isaak Frank Poetry Nailed MagazineIsaak Frank is an award-winning LGBT poet from Ottawa, ON. He has released two collections of poetry titled What Came Home and The Phoenix: Boy Rising, and has a third collection of work forthcoming titled Symphony. He has had work featured on The Northern Appeal, Rising Phoenix Review, Mibba Poetry, Red Queen Magazine, and has poetry forthcoming through Effervescent Magazine, Bottlecap Press, and The Dinner Table ReviewIsaak has worked as a literary columnist for Tongue Tied Magazine.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Carrie Seitzinger

Carrie Seitzinger is Editor-in-Cheif and Co-Publisher of NAILED. She is the author of the book, Fall Ill Medicine, which was named a 2013 Finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Seitzinger is also Co-Publisher of Small Doggies Press.
Learn more about her at her official site.