Bryan Price

What goes on

we worry that someone will come to the door while 

we’re on our hands and knees in extremis entangled having 

just discussed the way in which old Overholt looks 

like G. Washington if he had lived to see A. Jackson’s 

old age we are making the sounds that mourning doves 


make when they fly into power lines not loud but 

engaged in a web of two or three things at once no one 

comes to the door or peers through the macramé to 

watch the two of us appear ropelike and enmeshed on 

the couch no one struggles to imagine what we are doing 


everyone is deep into their own primitive experiments 

like Baudelaire who marked the difference between 

sunlight and the darkness that lies beyond the window

pane inviting us to look into each other’s abyss—the 

interior deep inside the imagination of disaster beyond 


the dialectic of moral hygiene and electroconvulsive 

therapy we close our eyes and imagine what lies beyond 

the reaper’s reach beyond religion or doubt beyond 

sleep deprivation and underwater music and when 

we finish fucking we sleep like the wind inside a cave 


Ghosts

the guitarist Robbie Basho died on a chiropractor’s table I 

once cut the flowers from a lavender bush and they never 

grew back I’d rather you not sing my name but if you choose 

to—do so in the style of an avian field recording Shannon 

came to the door and asked about Bill—I explained that he 

died in the desert not far from here I told her that he may 

be watching over us now my mother gave me a crystal to 

wear around my neck and claims it is in dreams that the dead 

make themselves useful I have a guitar that sits in the attic 

and at night it plays itself I have been reading from a book 

about birds from a book about trees and shrubs from a book 

about French cooking I have gone to the healing waters 

that can be seen but not touched I don’t want to die by 

anyone else’s hand I will stay awake until the wind ceases the 

rain ceases all chatter erupts into an uncanny valley of silence 

Bryan Price's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Posit, DMQ Review, Rhino Poetry, and elsewhere. He lives in San Diego with his wife, a dog, and a cat named for Pina Bausch, where (or thereabouts) he teaches history and humanities. These two poems are from (an as yet unpublished) manuscript of elegies entitled, A Plea for Secular Gods.

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