Our poetry editor, Joe Pan, has selected a poem by B.J. Love for for the latest in a monthly series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

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(photo via Brandon Burns's Flickrstream)

Brandon Burns, “Judd Sunrise” (2012) (photo via Brandon Burns’s Flickrstream)

Looking at Me With Magic

I know a few good songs still that we can sing
in dark and smelly places. People are telling
me about my arms like I have never seen
a crawfish before. Dude, they are falling from
my shoulders. They belong there. Because they
have always belonged there. We’ve got ground
to cover, so let’s think about arms differently.
Got new things to measure. New ways to win.
I mean, I don’t know how to fly over Texas
but I know I can. Sometimes you just have to
truss the bridge, you know? I’m hearing more
beautiful things through my too red ears. To say
I love you now seems like an odd warning for
the future. To sit on it just seems uncomfortable.
Back to those places. We call them New Orleans.
We call them this because our vocabulary limits
us yet we desire a more densely populated
specificity with an excited electorate and rich
cultural history. I don’t give a shit what seems
naïve. I can’t. The air is filled with warm and
there are potholes everywhere. If we talk at
all let’s talk about our ankles here. How we
keep them swollen and interesting. Mosquitoes,
(Musky-toes, says E____, is a sweet pun, but
that’s not what I wrote, I say, just how I said it)
dangling off our feet like feelings. I know I am
about to be the guy who takes on dancing.
I am taking on dancing like a boat. I’m singing.
My vessels, they are singing out catastrophe.
You won’t believe this. You never do. But I’m not
going down, I’m getting it. Here’s a secret. And
here is where someone invented the cocktail.
And here is where I wait for your hand to fall
slowly, like any waiting, onto my purple heart.

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B. J. Love

BJ Love is the author, most recently, of Yes, I'm Sure This Was a Beautiful Place (Strange Cage), a collaboration with the poet, Lucas Pingel. In addition to teaching at Savannah State University,...