Variations on a Phone Call to the West Coast

On New Year’s Eve, the Basement cold, the night
pulsing & unmade. X, far, a city street with city
rain, a bon soiree, an after-party after-what (V.R., dazzlingly: the
funeral of thoughtful act), of emotions A and B, or the
luggage of one, (or Grandmother Y: it is very important what I do
today; for it I must exchange a day of my life); for X I would
exchange what lingers, for X I would exchange myself,
and this phone call, these quips and stories
on the lyric of things, to X I would contaminate smile
with agenda, I wonder if her eyes have odor, (agenda!)
My throat uncoiling, a drunkard sponging of drunkard
sponging, heretofore onset by the New new year, heretofore
set by the chronology of things, by the lucky notion that I am
a worse version of myself, that destiny has full breasts, this
is a pulse-tracked calculation of X, this is a gasp of laughter
meant for desire, this, and only this, and only this…
On New Year’s Eve, the Bathroom’s closure,
the girls in tank-tops & scarves knocking (on the door)
like lesbians in sandals; or the escape, the necessity of expression,
a regret, a jewel-like wink, a larger following. To dismiss this too
as an uncoiling of agenda, of pool balls offshot into the graying
of the year, with X
my voice tomb-like, prodigious and feigned
to depths
both literal & husky, metaphorical & drawn. Most of
this night it is the latitude of what we fear (& what is it
that invigorates such conversation), & yet who
knows her latitude, X, an altitude, high as the jingle of dollar
bills in my pocket (Ben has a girlfriend, named My Girlfriend,
it will never last through such irony be great, X is too young
to remember but last year I was able to stagger &
exude envy all at once, when will I mature,
hand-eye-coordination-after-not-that-many-beers where
art thou, tant pis says X).

On New Year’s Eve, the Backyard’s nip,
the stars, rumored and went like the movement of furniture
(for sexual transience),
like one’s favorite book never existing,
like one’s favorite book
being The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, like
telling three girls in cancerously black jeans that one’s favorite
book is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, like being sober
enough to realize the sexual untransience of answering
Nabokov probably had shit New Years Eves, is Nabokov
dead (X: probably not, on both accounts). & yet to see X in the city
now (translations of these thin-leafed things), in acumen of
right or wrong & in this slew, these slow ionic drags; & X
probably dances like she is in a puddle being prodded
by a blow-dryer, her teeth in cosmic, opened dream, her
dreams unreal
the moment dreamt (& were it not…)
On New Year’s Day, the Bedroom’s calmness,
thoughts of X (calmness kills moods),
what kills ego: X, X thinking she is X, from my poem &
nothing else, little else, all would be fine if these poems were
worlds, if each word was soft
(& not historically so…) but only
softness, only fine,
where X sees complication I see poetry,
where X sees agenda I see X, where X feels hesitation
I remember our year, I see the phone, & know her number;
& if she were here & not there I would ask her what matters,
I would show her what once did. The ball trembles
(& drops),
gone from whence it came, nine in Los Angeles, my lips blank
(an old kiss). The night is wondrous.
But only wonderers endure.

Sam Donsky