Elisa Gabbert

 


Poem with Variation on a Line from Saturday Night Fever

 

I want anterograde timelessness,

I want to invent the future,

 

so people will think I came from it,

sent back to the present-as-past.

 

My desires depend on their being

pent, unrealized. My desires are unreal

 

in the future's eyes. Like knives.

The whole point of a stab wound

 

is the poignant memory. I don't invent

the future; the future invents me.

 

And then forgets me.

 


 

 

Poem without Free Will

 

Scatterplot of insect parts,

needle over E, karaoke

 

scansion of the radio,

I want my anachronism back—

 

his head in the rearview mirror,

double-bass voice extrinsic

 

like running commentary,

and now I hate this movie,

 

would rather watch

the windshield—the wind

 

is approaching.

Time doesn't just fly;

 

it ninja-stars me.

It's obvious to want to die,

 

but in the poem, I have to.

No life but in desire.

 

 


 

Poem with Assurance

 

Every display is fulsome. Vagina

is for lovers. I'm only saying

 

sayings from here on. Is it still 2007

already? You always head to

 

the B novels looking for World War Z

on tape(s), more Earthly Powers's,

 

I caught someone's zees.

I can't find the erratica section

 

but there's porn scattered everywhere.

When I said "I like it when you grope me

 

in public" I wasn't being ironic.

Now either. Now I want to go out, out

 

into the war. I see stadium lights

through the trees.

 

 


 

Poem with Superimposition

 

The night we met you had a stain

on your sweater, which I read

 

as nonchalance. I liked that

better. And freckles! The moon-

 

shine invasive, in our personal

space. I wonder why I didn't wonder

 

if we'd ever go to Canada.

In any case, we didn't.

 

But your previous version

is extant somewhere

 

in my dark-half mind; I happen-

stance against it, hovering

 

over a version of me, still

trying to fuck me. Sometimes

 

the things I say annoy me. But

this isn't called "Poem with Apology."

 


 

 

Poem with a Pun

 

And now it's cold. The air above the bed

rains blows. I want to be the girl

 

to watch classic porn with you

but it's so creepy-sexy it's not sexy,

 

or it's funny. At least now I know

that Debbie doesn't really do Dallas—

 

just the one guy, and only for the money,

though she makes the most of it. Should I say

 

I'm bad in bed? Do you prefer

an unconvincing liar, or a bad actress?

 

We watched two. What am I now,

the girl who watches porn with you?