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Weston Cutter

Copyright © 2012 Weston Cutter. All rights reserved.

One to One

Treat as given that trachea is
compelled by tracing ache,
that hands are hot ands
clutching. I've never named
my vehicle or penis, am
   satisfied that each
namelessly chases the dropped
vowels of heaven + drink?
What other than dry ink after
too much of which the soft
leap of sleep after which the
awe and rake of the next
morning + how we all have
at least one job: to gash
and lather the day's leaves
from the low eaves of all
the houses we inhabit
as we try to spit out what
we came here to say.

Between Planks

Not pouring concrete, not fitting
dug hole with 4x4 cedar post
or to that securing 8' stretches
of unpainted pickets, not alone
as much anymore + how
what one suffered through
loses teeth in memory, goes rosy, not
sure what color we'll paint the fence
nor that we'll paint it at all, not
without consideration for
the maples and oaks that stand
within view of where the fence will
+ if they'll feel like cows kept
as pets at the meat market
we don't patronize enough
because moo, because oink,
because we don't hit up speciality stores
not because we're not specialists
but because we want to carry
everything in the same flimsy
plastic, the toothpaste and
hotdog buns and habaneros
we buy the tiniest ones we can find
because we're pale northerners +
our mouths were for centuries home
to little spicier than fire-side stories
of warmer months and now
not sure if Jay-Z or the tigerlillies
just outside this window
would fit here, the former
in my ears rapping about his
99 problems not many of which
I'd imagine we share + the latter
swaying loosely at the walkway's
edge finally offering themselves
finally having made homes in
the holes I stuck each in back be
fore the season began casting
my long shadow in front of me
+ I had to look at everything
covered in a darkness I carry
around causing.

Against Utility

Every story's true  :  summer,  I'm   fourteen, mowing
  my way  through a fenced   backyard : carving
a name : curve by stem : each pass over the thick
grass :    Kelly   :  +  would  that I  were  Woody  + this
  merely  the  late-night television  of   my childood  :  let  he
 who's  never wanted  all   longing   to fit into  one  single
singable word  step in dogshit   next time  he's  got
to mow :   those humming summer afternoons of
youth  :  cicadas  deafening in their sexcalls  or what
  ever  they sang  in trees : the  soundtrack of  an innocent :  some
classmate  I never knew was  likely   right then  streets
away learning   how a  blowjob  felt    while
  I etched  a crush's   name  into  grass :  here's why +
how   the story's true :   the motor   stalled out  halfway
 through the y  : gasless  it spun   down to nothing :
+ the crushing  thrum  of silence that rushed in :
or  not   silence but  the sound of what   had been under
-neath   while I stomped  around : my heart's  consonants
+ vowels :  my  epic gesture   while I  shouted  along
   to Van Halen  on  my Walkman   though of course
I'd  never   tell  Kelly I hungered  for her  every  inch
 even when   her  whiteblond hair  went green  in summer
  from too  much chlorine : then  the  biking  away,   gas can
balanced on bike's  handlebars : then  the returning to  just
  barely able  to   make out   the outline  of the K  :  the
high midday  heat : the ways  sunlight  obliterated  my
tender shadings :  +now the  Van Halen bridge :  when
the  guitars wail back in :   the  yes :  gas  back
in the machine :  cord   pulled  : cicadas  again  over
-powered   by  the mower's fourstroke  : +  the boy
I was  : + the believer  I'll never  not be : I  cranked
 the music  +  mowed over   the whole thing  :   goodbye
  Kelly :   suddenly steely  sure  that  naming   love
 was   one thing  but  trusting it   through  erasure  some
thing bigger  than  the little    boy crushes  I   only   till
then knew :  plus   the ground  already knew  :
so   we tell   ourselves :  scribbling   wishes  on scraps
  we stuff in bottles +  set   free : what's  beneath
us seethes   with  what   we can't say :  all  we
 can't   possibly  know  how    to begin :  to articulate :

Flowers for Algebra

The fabric wears the weather of our passings
  meaning a car seat was the last thing
my ass touched x number of times as I made
my way toward various desires I would've
at various times depending on various substances claimed
were my destinies though chances are good
I would've just as easily claimed I was simply making my way
through women, for years I got daily outfitted
to climb Mt Endless Want by the fine folks
at Desperation Gear and when I wasn't trying
to wedge my ice pick into tricky, unyielding surface, wasn't
trying to pull myself up rock face + find new view
I was letting my life be licked on the Mississippi River
whose glory I believed in because of a book I didn't even
all that much like but which was, according to Ms. Walenta,
a classic, it took years to quit listening to white-haired
old folks about what constituted worth + classic and
on the river we tossed thick line around mooring cells
and rose with the water, this is the scene where
the water fills the lock and the 92 tons of boat rise
50 feet in nine minutes because the Army Corp of Engineers
and gravity and riverflow and so we rose, this is
the scene of a rising I took part in near-daily before
throwing my sun-stoked body each night at a vehicle's seat
and setting out with friends or solo to look for a realer rise
something after which riverflow + the miracles
of engineering would appear like tiny distant
details scribbled lightly on a map of a land
    I'd finally made my way from.

In Defense of Kissing Despite Massive Evidence to the Contrary

Once when you said "I'm hungry" someone
kissed you as if tongues were ever food enough,
lips and intentions of bliss, low gutturals
broken because vowels seem so flimsy and how
many times will you say river instead of
the name you miss so, like the color green or
the number eleven or the gun you were taught
to fire, age nine, how when you sighted down
the barrel as you pointed at the sun you knew
you'd never hit it, ever, but you still had to try?

An Attempt at a New Definition of Forever

Something rings and in the next room the telephone sings,
demanding buttons be pushed, more hellos :
there are words we know the way to say,
how to fit them into their places + use them : turn left
after two blocks : 350˚ for 25 minutes :
remember those first books, apples
pictured redly next to an overlarge A, box beside a B :
    we learn to believe proximity
    is kin to knowledge
and it's not a trick : we're told to get together, stand close,
and from dusty drawers decades down the line
we'll pull photos + grin through wrinkled lips :
I used to know him real good :
Something rings : It's winter,
another year's end and I finally know love : most nights while she sleeps
I lie close and hope to catch hints of whatever
she's dreaming : later we'll wake + regale each other
of what we've seen, jungles, ice cliffs, tigers or light shows :
we'll wake, put soft hands against other's face and pour ourselves as rivers
against the unsayable     as if it were stone
to enter                                               + quench, reduce to bits
small enough to wrap entirely around : days pass and
the telephone in the next room sings and sings again—
noon ticks an indefatiguable arithmetic
of light plus or minus light :
we bring ourselves right up next to words
we don't know how to use
(like strange cars parked in familiar lots,
like new boots in a doorway)—
we lie down again : again : falling asleep : listening :
whole alphabets we carry and these words :
perhaps they can only sing within : some things do :
for these there are rings :

An Inventory

A tablespoon of the blue fertilizer at each plant's roots, a gallon
of water sprayed through the nozzle that cost $5.97, the hose
that cost $14.99, today marks day three of shavelessness + when
the dog barks more than twice I believe something could be at
the door. The next cup of coffee, the back-up pair of sunglasses
since the old ones were sat on a few times then finally lost + days
may be arbitrary—a June Monday, a Friday in October—but they
add up: if I went back 1000 of them I'd still never buy an umbrella
so as to be kissed by uncountable lips of rain, would still scrimp
on meals to afford better gulps of beer, would forever let those
who walked away walk away + would ever choose to not see them
walking back + at the resort days after my wife'd become my wife
the groundskeeper—Ramon, good for a bilingual headnod of hello
would grab a large dark crow in each hand, the flappy lamed ones
which'd out of greed or daredevilry alighted on the grill beside
sauteeing onions + stacks of prefab burgers we didn't even need
to pay for, they were just there waiting for our hunger like pews
ready every hour for a penitent's hush, I watched him do this twice,
a bird in each hand, him walking off, fingers wrapped around dark
half-maimed flight, this was 8760 hours ago which is a year of hours
+ since then in order: hot, fucking hot, that's better, cooler, cold,
snow, ice, fucking ice, not too bad, cold again, too hot, now today.
Sun like a long-promised wish granted, breeze + we may or may not
suddenly owe more taxes, my still-new-but-less-so wife + I, may
have gotten lost in calculation, counted something twice, given
ourselves more credit than is recognized by the state of Indiana +
maybe we go broke because math is one more unbroken horse
we'll never learn to tame. There are so many stories. The lilac
against the back deck seemed dead for weeks, wilty as a desultory
teen then poof, all purple and that scent that's only lilac in the exact
same way my wife's skin only smells like my wife's skin as I hold
her wrist to my face without listening to her watch tick without
counting any of the seconds making their incessant way
through us like wind through a bird's wings, like air in its bones.

Stop Asking

this morning I did not give four and a half stars
to the view of my wife's half-nude
pregnant body, her blue nightgown twisted
from sleep's turnings, her blond hair stormed against the goldenrod pillowcase
which began pilling the second night after
we'd purchased the cheap sheetset on impulse
because stripmalls, Kohls next to Kroger
like "Romeo and Juliet" playing on iTunes before
a song called "Heaven" + yesterday I stood
blank minutes before the green peppers sure searching through them just
a bit longer would yield more, that I'd secure for my
grateful stomach somehow the Best Green Pepper Ever
but still dinner's just dinner in this case quinoa
with black beans and cilantro which is a meal
my wife seems to like though she's never
rated it or told me what else I should put on the stove beside it to heighten its flavors
or whatever. This morning she was asleep +
her body was only itself, the beautiful body, my tongue
and I did no battle regarding eloquence or precision
as it lay like a dalmation satisfied to let cars
pass barkless in the fire-engine red of my mouth

Higgs Boson

We throw what stones we find into rivers
because we're merely leather, some muscle
beneath, trace blood reminding us of how
deep down we're oceanic. Whisper ti
-dal force. We blast electrons into each
other faster, harder than we know
to throw ourselves into a stranger's grip
whimpering save me. So heart as anchor.
So the patina of skin. Close your eyes.
The only current anyone can know
is there in dark, that ecstatic junction.
You're every river that has ever flowed.

What It Sounded Like

The what of the nothing : the trash bins
parked alleyside are a Velvet Underground song :
waiting for the man : every wish I've ever had
re waiting and rain is answered by my wife
who is at present not scared of anything be
cause she's asleep though even awake she fears
little, less certainly than I do, for instance
the firecrackers two nights back, bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang, you think
all eight bangs are excessive in this poem and
they are, as excessive as they were to listen to
at 1:27am when I was confused and groggy enough
to believe the reports were of a caliber meant
for a less playful ordnance and perhaps, who knows,
those blasts were gunshots in which case please
don't let my sleeping wife know I heard eight shots
fired two nights back in the alley in which
our trash bins stand dim as didn't-see-nothing witnesses, let's
not even address how celebration
and darker urges both feature gunpowdery claps
and the what of nothing : I wrote that four days ago,
before I heard maybe/maybe-not gunshots
in the alley, it was a question that sounded fun
to lazily consider in a pot-smoked way but now
I'd like instead to ask what is the color of going
forward or what is the smell of wondering about
weaponry and protection or what is the taste of
the pen I've been looking my whole life for, the one
with which I'll finally write some lines that don't try
to hang out with songs of my youth or my early-
adulthood fears : certainly there's some whole big
other excessive set of questions I've yet to begin
to wonder about in some alley I'll who knows
maybe someday find, dodging usual bullets.

Appetite for Destruction

The jungle of self, the self
as obligation, the obligation
to mean it, to show up, to
arrive, the luxury of agency,
the agency to which we'll
apply so our child's name
will become real + so that
we may legally be each other's,
the other we each believe in
from need or darker impulse
when the daily other slags,
forgets, doesn't hear, come
on, etc., the not hearing
  that's necessary
+ the not seeing that's
the light of fireflies recharging
between blinks, the fireflies
blinking over the lake
we throw twigs into
so the dog can practice his
I will do anything for you,
the anything done and
  undone as the lilies
zip their dresses back up
to mark another peepshow
day's end as the dog bounds
through his sleep as we
go upstairs and unzip as
we try again to climb into
the dark inside each other

Keeping It All

: in
side my wife new life's
swimming + connected by a fi-
lament I'll be
expected to cut because nature
does nothing uselessly
meaning E will push our future
into our present
+ I'll set it loose : everything is
secretly named Pandora
no matter what we call it including
candle or pen
or Shivorna, which is one of the
60,000 baby names in
the book we keep bedside, I
read options
to the life inside my wife's life
+ ask is that you Quintilia,
Fogert, Mayalen? Which is it? We
wait for kicks,
murky movement, sure some
response, anything, will be
a clue: when I die I'll still have
the warm Feb
ruary morning my wife said
follow me then offered
a pink plus sign, meaning sym
bolism litters
our days, clutters each vision,
takes a shovel to any life's
loam + digs in : say where your
richest self is,
the thickest aspects, then count
the days till some thing
named or not finds you +
whispers deeper.


Thanks to the editors at Quarterly West for publishing "An Attempt at a New Definition of Forever," and 2River for publishing "In Defense of Kissing Despite Massive Evidence to the Contrary."

Weston Cutter

Weston Cutter is the author of You'd Be a Stranger, Too, and his chapbook All Black Everything will be released this winter by New Michigan Press. He's from Minnesota but now lives and works in Fort Wayne, Indiana.