Dead Hypothetical Lover

by Brendon Booth-Jones

—For J.

Will I ever earn enough
to not have the recurring dream
every night for a week
before payday
of the rat-eaten piggy bank,
the wolf with his bacon breath
sitting on my chest,
heavy as a lead-bellied Buddha
protecting the chi
in Bezos’ lush baobab menagerie?
Can’t they see I’m trying?
How deep must I swim to recover
the black box from the wreck?
It’s true, I’ve been a fucking mess.
I need leave to remain.
I’ve got beef with death.

But you and I,
we’re done living bloodless as crockery!
Let’s share our electrons
and spend each day in a sonnet,
each night in a starlit lexicon.
Let’s live together
in a mood of the bluest orange
and read the palm of every fallen leaf.
And to the world we’ll be
stranger than a trilobite in a trilby,
but we won’t care!
Our souls were akimbo
in the vomitorium too long. Too long.
Let’s find a nest and fill it
with pot plants and pets
and floor-to-ceiling stacks of books.

So now the question is:
how to enter this
different kind of knowing,
this different way of attending?
This meaning that is always in motion.
It’s true, I’ve been a fucking mess.
But now I know that all phenomena interlock.
Ion. Embryo. Amaryllis.
The moss between the concrete’s teeth.
Carapace. Ejecta. Interstellar.
I’m working to be better,
to replace this PTSD with sleep,
to be weightless when you’re with me.

Brendon Booth-Jones is an Amsterdam-based writer and former editor in chief of Writer’s Block Magazine. Brendon’s debut collection, Vertigo to Go, was published by the Hedgehog Poetry Press in 2020. His second collection, Open Letters to the Sky, is forthcoming from the same press in 2022. Brendon’s work has appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, As It Ought To Be, The Bosphorus Review, Feral, Fly on the Wall, Ghost City Review, The Night Heron Barks,and elsewhere. Find him on Twitter @BrendonBoothJo1 or via his website