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jAMIE mortara


blues for a red planet

“Where we have strong emotions, we’re liable to fool ourselves.”



tonight / like every night / we got all dressed-up for the storm
with nowhere to go / waiting in a station's draft cold / the red-
line coming through too slow / the hysteria of a phonograph
and a paranoid countryside / i mistook the scars on our bodies
for signs of life / every single time / tributaries of an ancient hurt
& nothing more / no promise / only apology / only dust on my tongue
i hope you can hear that / this time / this poem / is me / holding my own
screaming body / for a change / the train too slow to kill me / almost laughing
i have been dressed-up / all for nothing / wishing out loud at the wrong
constellations / we were just / too late / in a different era / when you asked
i would have grabbed this december / blanketed it in black flowers
said a prayer to melt this mess with distant sun / but the earth / like me
should know a dead end when it sees one / an abyss between two planets
the topography of two broken hands / failing to hold precious air
searching desperate / for something they already contain on their own
all along / back home / back then / if i saw the right shadow / on just
the right rock / i could convince myself to love anything / so desperate
for a new house / that i started burning this one down / i'm sorry
i can't defend us from us anymore / clipping my own wings
for the sake of yours / i'm sorry / but i can't stay married to the war


*poem after Cosmos and 'All Dressed Up For Mars and Nowhere To Go,' by Elmo Keep





Jamie Mortara is a sad unicorn living in Boston, MA. They operate voicemailpoems.org, ride their bike a lot, and have a website at jamiemortara.com. Jamie Mortara is poet laureate of FEELING VERY UNCOMFORTABLE.