Four Way Review is an electronic literary journal from non-profit, independent literary publisher Four Way Books. Four Way Review publishes poetry and fiction from both established and emerging authors through our open submissions process (which will open with the launch of Issue #1). This year — 2012 — we are celebrating the Review’s inaugural issue […]
You never know you want to live until someone tells you that you will die. For four years, Leenck had worked from home processing accounts for an investment firm. Leenck was dying. Suffice it to say, he was painfully aware now that he was dying. He had already gone to the bank and withdrawn all of his savings: at the counter waiting for this manager or that supervisor to sign this or that form, the teller had looked at him that morning as if she knew, as if she, too, knew he was dying. It was as if everyone were staring at him.
For Jack Agueros
Look at all those lovely books.
What are all those books to me?
Words are wriggle-fish in an endless sea.
I over-hear them talking,
Sometimes I think
They’re talking about me.
I was locked in the linen closet, lost
In ruffles of gingham tatters and my sky
Bleached hair. I wore the
Paper crown. I wore the flimsy red
Tiara. I let them
Pin them wings on me.
The palace, I say, is burning.
They have not come for you. They will not blister
the day with light and swords. The room remains
a room, and not a portal. The syringes
hold no messages, not even plain
emptiness. The food trays, when you eat food,
rattle if I move them, and, if left alone,
Some blunt hammering set me off,
that and the teeth of a saw.
I left behind my sweater,
the remains of a sandwich, my camera,
some paperweights, my lament. I left behind
a few weak coals I’d blown alive.
Even as I deliver my body
to the subway’s tenebrous mercy,
I cannot un-know this:
each time daylight invades
our limbs, the sun marching
its restless armies up the sheets,
my love will put entire states between us
7. Olympia, Washington
The Pacific Ocean shovels coals in the distance.
My drunk friends drop pebbles at me as I lie
on the couch losing water. Be happy, be happy, be happy.
I’m trying to see spring sprout, mountain that smells like green apple,
Seeds tier in a pomegranate.
Sweat beads convex-mirror corners of a night.
You pick up a piece of coal from roadside,
wrap it in a blue and green checked handkerchief
Streetlamps imitate stars.
Stains on a hotel ceiling imitate mountains, boats and ruins.
…either do great good or great evil,
the journalist, 23, says. We walk
3. Zhongzhou, Luoyang
This area is between brown and purple.
All the apartment buildings look the same.
I need to lie down, call out
your name to one of the black-barred