Bad Survivalist: Lee Patterson
an essay about funerals
I want to set a car on fire, set guns on fire, set love on fire—grow skin so crimson we call it fire. I want to grow a more giving heart, set it on fire, watch what crumbles crumble. trumpets blare against the wall. a temple falls, a medicine cabinet cracks then falls, a marriage tells itself stories about next summer before the fall. I am so tired my breath hurts. I don’t owe the clouds, but I still pay them in hugs. every 3 seconds another goldfish drowns. what, if anything, is lonelier than a pair of mismatched socks?
an essay about grief
I never wear a helmet when I walk into the sky. my heart was taken during a forest fire. my lips too, but nobody noticed. what if I stopped thinking what if—what if grief finds a cave & someone puts a boulder in front of the cave, what will rise 3 days later & will a swallow do just that? I was an evening & the moon was an evening & my wife was in both evenings, the evening I dreamt I died in a sea of minnows, & in the evening even the minnows were dreaming of dying, before they traded their tails for legs, their swamps for manicured lawns. I never fly my wife home from the bar. I sleep through 3 hours of purgatory to weep during my 7 minutes in heaven. how easy it must be to love someone with an empty medicine cabinet, someone who never has to check the expiration date on living.
Lee Patterson’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Love’s Executive Order, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and Unbroken, among others. His chapbook, I get sad, will be published by Ethel Zine in late 2019.
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