I store away years on the remote chance I may live them again. I give myself a new name daily. This is a list of things to do in bed when nothing means what it seems, for instance, the shot glasses we filled with spent laughter, that wordless agreement with a locked door, the closet which may or may not contain a man, the morning of the folded note. In some distant galaxy the stars line up and laugh, so today I will tell you my new name. Today I will unlock that door and unfold that note. I will tell you the speed of light is the distance a touch travels in a dark closet.
The Gears of War
We explore soft minutes with interlocked fingers, while in a building half a world away another man sits waiting for death to lick his ear like a lover. Death has written him a letter wishing him well and letting the man know that death will come to visit soon. It begins, Dear John, and immediately music can be heard as if at a wedding or a funeral. Armies amass on the shores of a continent. Banners and flags wave. An invasion is imminent. Refugees stream toward barbed-wired borders and thin children cry. Panic ensues. Back into bed, we must hurry.
I am the only suspect in a murder, so I open the drawer and show her the moon shining on my ribs. Outside it is raining. It is always raining. There is some lightning made from her laughter. There is a gun made from the darkness of a bedroom. And there are bullets made of discarded sighs. In the small hours of a former life, convictions give way to a route through familiar neural pathways. A long look in the mirror, a gleaming knife, and I’m still standing in the bright rain at that convenience store.
Bernd Sauermann was born in Hof, Germany, and immigrated to the U.S. in 1968. He is Visiting Professor of Writing at Adams State University in Alamosa Colorado and has published two books of prose poems, Seven Notes of a Dead Man’s Song, with MadHat Press, and Redshift with Lit Fest Press; two chapbooks, Diesel Generator with Horse Less Press and Diagram and Nomenclature with White Knuckle Press.