David McAleavey’s poetry has appeared in many journals, including Ploughshares, Poetry and The Georgia Review; since early 2010 he has had over a hundred poems and prose poems in Epoch, Poetry Northwest, Denver Quarterly, Birmingham Poetry Review, diode poetry journal, anderbo.com, Stand, Drunken Boat, and dozens of others. His fifth and most recent book is HUGE HAIKU (317 pp., Chax Press, Tucson, 2005). He teaches literature and creative writing at George Washington University in D.C.
by David McAleavey
After the rain, looking down, the sprawl astounded us, suburbs stretched over county boundaries, happy geomorphic interferences like comet streaks on old-style photographic plates irradiated and incontestable. You came, inconsolably, that first time, because you were learning and it was real. A sprig of a plant whose mystical properties have been erased by the amnesia of civilization, so I can’t say it was responsible, somehow you smiled, one thing, another, then the months had turned nearly back to September, time to return to school. Cupid’s arrows flash & flay between compelling, competing states which we tumble through in the Tunnel of Love, sweet enough but an obvious taboo, words we aren’t meant to think about, words whose meaning is non-meaning, as if language were just sounds. Is there just one summer of love? Then came that psych experiment where they had guys sit, all wired to track their GSR, and watch a film on subcision in an African tribe, man, that had to have hurt, they cut open your penis all along the bottom side, using a stone knife, then throw some sacred dirt in there, which stops the bleeding, and send you off into the desert for a week to moan on your own. You come back a man, but I’d already heard about the film, so didn’t register the proper amount of alarm. Still got paid, and the summer ended almost unnoticed.