Peter Myers

Trash Talk

I put a dream in the trash bag.

The dream is in the trash bag.

The trash bag rejects its form and conforms

to a shape more wretched than it.

No one gets inside of a trash bag

willingly unless they are there already.

On the moon all trash bags contain the image

of night with the moon cropped out. On Earth

all trash bags are fictions

sustained by poems with the truth cropped out.

If I write one hundred poems of trash and they make

one hundred million dollars, how many lies

must each poem contain? A poem of trash contains

itself like an engine with recursive pistons.

If you’ve come looking for an ecologically

aware poetics look no further! Everyone

is asking for it! One way to sustain your artifice is to put

each sayable thing into the trash bag

in one order and take them out

in another order that didn’t exist before.

For instance, I put this dream in the trash bag. I mean,

I took this trash from the dream bag. I was once a poet

a trash bag among others. We asked some perfect

questions but our mouths kept filling with trash.

Trash talkers, we named ourselves, after Wallace Stevens

who looked out across the dump without even thinking

to ask would all this actually fit, which is why

modernism didn’t work and had to be thrown away

and replaced with trash the others left behind

to defend themselves from the ones whose dreams were useful.

Self & Care

I often have difficulty being kind to myself since kindness

presents as a lesser virtue. No no goldenrod,

golden road to hell paved with symphonic reason.

I’d forgotten about hell

it didn’t forget me. And you didn’t, either, forget about care

though it comes out exasperation.

Thus I am asinine, unmasked,

as asters fluke in the wind

as rowhomes crowd out fantasy

as chemtrails reticulate

the sky, the sound

it’s all those old friendships

hitting their distant edge and snapping.

You can’t stop that changing

or pull the plug on tenderness.

I ask everyone Have you changed, Have you felt different, Are you still in an unstagnant way. Ask me if I’ve changed, too

since we last broke out of years

mocked lyric vagueness in the vaguer night.

I do not want to unpile space anymore I do not want to be a periodot of time

obsessed with the movement of spheres.

Would you care for me so I don’t have to

until the uncurtaining

when I stand up just to yell Surprise I’m the withholder of time?

I’m getting messianic again.

Next time, no more trash may rest below my eyes.

Trash as in all I’ve had

wanted, and denied wanting, in that order.

Could it be it was all a style of failed control?

I’m wondering if I’ll look back on this time as all I had left of my dreams

sights like twigs scraping

the bus windows

a chronic river

then rudimentary tenderness

I go to bed every night thinking about how I get to make you coffee the coming morning

the cup I hand you

forever at the rift.

Dream Town

There was a town

The town had a dream in it

The dream was a town

That town was the first town dreaming

Its own dream of necrotic fire

Stars wrecking each other for wonder

Who makes this that mistake who’s in charge

Here’s a mountain taking off

Its top but another lives inside this is me

Unshrouding my own dream whoops

I’m getting conspicuous but that happens

Rancid asphodel rancid dancer

Motion is an attribute of beauty

It gets confused with impermanence

That sentiment the stone thrown through me

I’ve learned so much from my institutions

To shut down marvels one-by-one typing lies into a search engine

I won’t repeat them here

Maybe I’m a little overinvested in truth but I just palm embarrassment

In my hand a handsaw

In my mind a red voice humming

It calls the “to” right back to own

It calls the “e” right back to motion

When I talk about how poems make me feel not even that what they do to me physically I worry others suspect I’m not being truthful but there’s nothing I could do or say that’s less of a lie

In the town I go around asking did this dream of yours come true

Emily Dickinson replies that reading poetry feels physically

As if the top of her head were taken off

An image of violence I mistake for an image of beauty

But poetry is beautiful only to the extent that life is beautiful and poetry isn’t violent only to the extent that life isn’t violent

I don’t mean poetry and life are coextensive but I just woke up from this poem of a town with a dream in it

Making speech sounds like water

Holds onto the reflection

Of the fire it doesn’t put out

I thought the town was a metaphor

I thought the fire was too

But now the town won’t stop burning and the poem doesn’t say why

Peter Myers is a poet living in New York. Recent work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Qui Parle, jubilat, No Materialism, and elsewhere. He teaches at an elementary school.