Feeling the nausea rising, he ran out into the courtyard and vomited on a dwarf palm tree.
Yet where have I been
since the last time I did more
or less the same thing?
A few places, basically.
Sick and alive.
Putrid, glowing, reacquainting
myself with that regal stench.
Slow to get upright in the morning,
hesitating, too, to do anything
like braking late in the muddy evening
when the dark is just getting good on me.
What belongs to you?
Evidently, not your name either.
Not even the bad music or
loud roads you’ve been hoping
to avoid. You have only
to shut up and laugh.
It’s that or die.
Like it’s an either/or.
Like you had choice to begin with.
By which I must mean
Before you know it,
Whoever you came with is asleep.
And the curtain’s smothered the cast.
You’re a bad liar, you know that?
I can tell by the words you’ve selected.
Even your mouth doesn’t believe them.
Joshua Marie Wilkinson is a writer, filmmaker, and author of eight books of poetry, including Lug Your Careless Body Out of the Careful Dusk and Swamp Isthmus. Wilkinson's most recent book is Meadow Slasher. His work has appeared in Poetry, Bomb, jubilat, The Believer, Poets & Writers, A Public Space, The Iowa Review, Tin House, and elsewhere. His poems have appeared in over a dozen anthologies, including Postmodern American Poetry. He lives in Seattle, WA, with the writer Lisa Wells, where they edit The Volta and Letter Machine Editions.