Michael Jefferson

Live From Luxor

And so outside the bar beside my apartment I begin to chain smoke and

say to Aman who’s 10 years older, I can feel my age catching up and I

am terrified of all of it, of course he laughs, he’s 35, my confession to

 

him must come across as a juvenile joke but I’m dead serious and certain

I have already run my course and wasted everything and all of it; whatever

coveted stipend that comes with being young. I am not happy, I am

 

not confident in anything other than the quality of my work. I text my

father then erase it, neither of us would have let the message go, him

for posterity, me because admitting to my father I am wrong is

 

anything but an asp in a basket before it bites the wrist and like Cleopatra

I will go down a God, not in gilded chains scathing my skin pulled by

elephants from Carthage, my line extinguished. “I am undisciplined, it’ll

 

ruin me, opportunities and everything I want will be

auctioned off to everyone but me in some foreclosure

when the time has come for collecting.”

Ode to "Stardew Valley"
Street Lights

I have learned window watchers ought to

keep aghast and agape mouths shut. Opt

 

against any conversation where receiving

end comes to clarity; what they have is quite

 

the caliber of a Gaga bluff, a face that won't

debuff the smile they are weakened to

 

the language that comes with Lannister

tongues of our abusers and our users

 

and our partners who in the end are simply

powerstruck and in position to then hinder

 

any rational decision to halt from

meandering along a jetty, high

 

tide, above seas that are tough.

But that's just how the world

 

is: A constant cunning of a greenlight

is prettier than some flippant lampost's

 

hum. Back against the current,

I'm so spooked by the past.

I’ve decided during Stardew, all I want to do is

fish, farm, devour copious amounts of

homegrown weed, lie in the fields

 

with my kids, claim, “Ancient astronaut theorists

believe Anunnaki came from that constellation,”

They, because they’re little, would, like Mulder,

 

believe and my wife would call me

stupid and that I’m making our kids stupid and I’ll

laugh and say sheeple like her are too main-

 

stream to see the picture that is

promised with the promise of

lightspeed: sentient seas, pre-sapiens

 

clayed Man by arrival of our

childens’ busy hands.

Why not let them listen.

 

Why not let me lie here happy

with our kids in the black

of fields she and I till together

 

to unmake the empty and she

will look at me, the way one

looks at things they love so much

 

it is vexing and sit with us, our kids and me,

point to Orion’s Belt and say that is where she

came from and every piece of me will sing.

“What’s the Point? You’ve Got To Take What Comes”

See, one time I met someone in a dim bar, wing tipped pretty

eyes I believed I belonged in. Saw myself happily across

 

from her as she pulls at my arm, to take a picture

of the orca beneath an iceberg, I like to think eventually

 

it discovers fresh air. Sent the picture to her sister,

think, “I’d love to meet her sister just to imitate what

 

it takes to belong in her orbit, a tidal locked full

moon. She says, like an Oracle, “I’ll be flying back

 

and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and

another for the rest of my days.” I say, “Are

 

you quoting Plath because we can go to

the jeweler to pick out your damn ring.” 

 

Later, in the uber, I say to the uber, “Can you play

that song from Hercules “I Won’t Say (I’m In Love)”

 

I go and say I’m in love two years too late, exhausted

by the jokes we’d make of a dreamed up family, our

 

sick-in-the-head and beautiful kids, trilingual and so

talented Disney would come knocking with several

 

scripts in hand. Soliloquies are fever dreams, eventually

tomorrow and tomorrow brings you crashing from the sun. 

Any Minute Now, Something Will Happen

And I think it’s fair to say I've seen

enough of it burn. Malcolm said, one

day he was home and then he wasn't,

 

I was slow on the uptake, I am picking

it up now. He meant, well, physically,

every kind of good thing just wilted

 

in a drought rot, devastating landscapes,

his body a dustbowl. I am feeling so Carole

King to Cole Porter, back against an

 

ocean ignoring a symphony of gulls

panicked warning of "so it goes" of

rows of teeth, ascending like the sun. In

 

which part of this novel do I turn to me

and say to me, "we must cultivate our

garden," and I nod and knead the dirt?

"Michael Jefferson is a twenty-seven-year-old poet from New Haven, CT. His dream is to direct films based on his own novels, where people talk in transatlantic accents over 1950s inspired original scores."