Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 34
Autumnal Equinox, 2019

New Works

Bryan Price


woke up in my father's bedroom to the smell of burning hair the place where an air conditioner was supposed to go covered with a sheet of pressboard (he couldn't heal the sick either) I dreamt you took me to mass and I couldn't be fed the wafer and then we took your bones (ashes now) back to Lakewood where all hell broke loose thirty-seven years ago tight-lipped motherfucker you never said a thing about where you buried the dog and why you took out the lime tree we never talked about Dostoevsky's funeral or horse worship or whether or not the Enola Gay should be burned at the stake...we never had a single frank conversation about warmongers or the Chilean coup about Nixon and Humphrey or Uncle Jim who came back demented with two stumps and robbed liquor stores with his teeth—we are not the sort of people to leave behind an archive...


always checking the stove the locks the creases between the windows opening out into the dread night washing something filmy or sticky or filthy from my hands and between my fingers—my own instrument of magic of forgetting (an evil delusion) anyway it makes me think of you and wiping away the smell of smoke and ashes off your steering wheel and column off the windshield choking on ash flying through the night through the morning reading for a moment as a magpie would from your books when you go to the bathroom to wash or are in the kitchen smoking they are religious to excess or metaphysical at any rate too much so for what is needed now—the ability to describe all of the distinct sensibilities that define the margins of our late pluralism...one lacuna of empathy takes its revenge on the lie of fullness on the whole notion of a universal system touching into the lives of all people and things through time and space destroying fertile boundaries of difference of weirdness succumbing to the exactitude of unity trading belonging for being...we all want to be held stroked and at times kissed in our sleep taken out of context and rocked to obscurity like the sound of a thousand bells ringing or a white noise machine: to have our worries and anxieties melted by the touch of a former stranger we each leap into oblivion and come out with very little intact...

Bryan D. Price's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Diagram, Digging Through the Fat, Posit and Grey Sparrow (among others). He lives and teaches in the suburbs of southern California where he is working on a manuscript of elegies.