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Philip Brunetti lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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This Wound, This Burning Star

Philip Brunetti

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nothing like the times we had
if we had any—not so sure anymore—
but then i turn in bed and the calendar
has erased 17 years and i’m up to
my ears in regret, remorse, the painful
energy of being, and one place and one time.

you saw me through the roughest patch, i think
i scraped my knee on a tree guard in the summer
of ‘76, 44 sutures and Razzles in my pocket
we partied till dawn as kids, flipping the old
wounded bird of the Nerf football, and then
i kicked in your teeth when you suggested
the Merv Griffin show. i mean, really, that
old bag: we were 10-year-old kids, not
house-bound housewives in gingham armor.

the throat closes these days—or the throat
does not like to close. i am swallowing Fred,
a small parakeet that never did anyone
any harm, except me, because he was
expensive and i could not shoot out the
lights with my pellet gun the way i used to.
i hate to have the responsibility of ornithological
landscape paintings, the one bird, the pet
bird of medicinal syrups like a tablespoon
in the time of dying.

for forty (40) years the watch was running
on time, then the crystal broke and all
hell broke loose too. it was like the running
of the bulls in Pamplona with gored white costumes,
except we were ex-boys and then men with
half-shaven faces, a bottle of wine on the dock,
the ketchup-blues dress stains, that girl from Canada,
with the wild geese in her hair, i cannot excuse it
but they were only looking for burning stars
in a wide Venetian platform, harbor lights
and harlot songs in the key of C.

come into my kitchen. this is the last visit before
the Queen of Spades enters with her wild and kinky
hair, a moon-child descendant, half Nordic, half Egyptian,
i cannot say which half is which but her pussy burns like
the fires of Chicago circa 1871, and the housecoat
she wears is stuffed with shampoo bottles and papier-mâché
hand grenades. i could have loved that one too, and did in
a fine gentle rain in Central Park—but that was August
and the love birds were out, singing Cadillac songs
of roast-beef nights, the way you nibbled that potluck
pussy all summer long, the rain clouds never forming,
the grass stains on elbows, knees, the cigarettes
smoldering in your heart.

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