THE ART OF LYING NEXT TO EACH OTHER
It turns out Americans are making less
love, which make sense since even in
the imaginary privacy of our own bedrooms
we hate what we’ve become. There is a kind
of truth that’s true whether or not you believe
in it and a kind of truth that’s true because you
repeat it and one lives without you and the other
needs permission. It turns out the past is its own
country to which you can return again and again
each choral grass blade trembling, sky the color
of sky before the prairie dog enters its rut.
I want to deny you. In negative we see a positive
blue. I love you. This is how lightning strikes
without thunder. This is how you go to bed
and wake up in your neighbor’s garage.
The past appears like a candle in a room
and it lights the dark on fire until we see
the GPS map out our internal geography
and a different body sways into view.
I’m still troubled by words that contain
both time and space. I can finally express
what’s on the inside, s/he says. ‘Everybody
must have been a spy.’ It turns out you can
believe the world is flat as a basketball
court as long as you don’t run a space agency.
I’m searching for a corollary. I bit my lip eyeing
my neighbor’s field, but ‘here there are no cows’.
Nobody but us unwilling chickens. We move
in darkness. The gaps in the wall are windows
no one has made but the wind and the rain.
I’m thinking of adding a door, which makes sense
since I’m staring at one, but what’s beyond. It turns
out it’s closed. The district of the mind where
the rational country persists. So to speak
of a door of light with its religious implications.
I suppose this is the allure of the narrative
of nostalgia. There is no middle way unless
one discerns to be an extremist of love. It turns.
out our self-determination matters less
and less every day. It’s a paradox. I’m interested in
the way we can turn anything into something
else and back again before night falls with its swell
of unintended opal and finally we’re stuck standing
somewhere naked and in awe of each other.
Daniel Biegelson is the Director of the Visiting Writers Series at Northwest Missouri State University and Associate Editor for The Laurel Review. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Denver Quarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Jellyfish Magazine, Meridian, New Orleans Review, Spiral Orb and VERSE amongst other places. He hails from New Jersey—a fact that means more to him than it probably should.