AMERICAN SONNET FOR MY PAST AND FUTURE ASSASSIN

New Poems by Terrance Hayes

July 19, 2017  By Terrance Hayes
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AMERICAN SONNET FOR MY PAST AND FUTURE ASSASSIN

 

If you have never felt what is fluid in a woman
Run warm as semen along your thighs & testicles
Don Trumpet if you do not know that the first man
Was in fact a woman whose clit grew so swollen
With love it hung like a finger pointing towards
The shadow of someone stirring her tides & meadows
Mister Trumpet what the fuck do you know
You are lonely because you could never unhitch
Your mother’s terrifying madness & radiant woe
I’m mean my mother here she is the crazy bitch
In me she the way I weep she the way I break she manly
Manly Trumpeter I can’t speak for you but men like me
Who have never made love to a man will always be
Somewhere in the folds of our loving ashamed of it

 

AMERICAN SONNET FOR MY PAST AND FUTURE ASSASSIN

 

Maybe I was too hard on Derek Walcott.
In preschool while I lay on a nylon cot
In a church basement staring at God knows
What, I was not asleep when the old deacon
Snuck downstairs to let the two sisters
Watching us lay hands against his advances.
His crown was haloed in gray, but eyebrows
And eyelashes swirled black as calligraphy
Around his gaze. “Cut it out,” I’d hear the girl
With plump, plum lips say. He wore a silver
Bracelet, he spoke with a radiant sway,
Everywhere he was known to pray a prayer
So blood-filled & persuasive some listeners
Were said to fever, kneel, beg, break, levitate.

 

AMERICAN SONNET FOR MY PAST AND FUTURE ASSASSIN

 

I try to make a record of all the beauty I record
Between the record store & home: the woman
Whose nose is twice the size of her mouth
Which seems shrunken by inhibition, the woman
With an ass & legs shaped like the mother
Of my children, the boyish seven foot plus brother
Head-phoned in music, we both watch others
Play ball inside a fence, and then the one sister
To look in my eyes for more than half a stare.
What’s the word for someone you’d make love to
Within seconds of attraction? I meant to share
How excited I was when I realized “minute”
Rhymes with “minute.” I am recording a record
Here where “live” & “live” also inspire tribute.

 

AMERICAN SONNET FOR MY PAST AND FUTURE ASSASSIN

 

From now on I will do my laundry early Sunday
Mornings when all the young tenants are hung-
Over or worn out, all the old people in church,
And the pets & parents parked at playgrounds
With their children beside the “Play At Your Own
Risk” sign. I tried to tell the woman who sends
Me songs, it’s departure that makes company hard
To master. I tried to tell her I’m a muser, a miser
With time. I love poems more than money & pussy.
From now on I will eat brunch alone. I now know
Eurydice is actually the poet, not Orpheus. Her muse
Has his back to her with his ear bent to his own heart.
As if what you learn making love to yourself matters
More than what you learn loving someone else.

 

AMERICAN SONNET FOR MY PAST AND FUTURE ASSASSIN

 

Seven of the ten things I love in the face
Of James Baldwin concern the spiritual
Elasticity of his expressions. The sashay
Between left & right eyebrow, for example.
The crease between his eyes like a tuning
Fork or furrow, like a riverbed branching
Into tributaries like lines of rapturous sentences
Searching for a period. The dimple in his chin
Narrows & expands like a pupil. Most of all,
I love all of his eyes. And those wrinkles
The feel & color of wet driftwood in the mud
Around those eyes. Mud is made of
Simple rain & earth, the same baptismal
Spills & hills of dirt James Baldwin is made of.




Terrance Hayes
Terrance Hayes
Terrance Hayes is the author of five collections of poetry, including How To Be Drawn in 2015. His website is terrancehayes.com.







  • Angelina Sáenz

    Absolutely gorgeous. Thank you!

  • adamthescribe

    Beautiful stuff. I like the irregular rhymes, sometimes mid-line, sometimes at line-end, the wordplay, the swaying rhythms, and the seriousness under the wit.

  • Dak Gustal

    This is so good.



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