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Morning Puzzle

out—the bougainvillea untied in the grass  late January sun                  browning everything       my mustache    skin      memory      I’ve collected the paper-mache
oranges from under the tree today and put them in the desk-drawer so that
I can put them back exactly where they had fallen
                                                                        so I can see your face again clearly

Spring has constructed these connect-the-dots for us      and I’m sure it will work soon to make me less lonely
                                                                things will be less conditional tomorrow!

let’s play cards tonight                                  I’ve discovered a grammar of games that will not be written down                              no matter how many times I ask

will not linger in the rationality of the sentence 

                                                                             and suddenly today I know you
as I have never known a photograph copy of you! or a gerund or the symbols for houses

                                         I think I’m in love with the white surface of the sunlight imaginary
                                   traced blue in the sky                                and the sidewalk
lined with all you know and love
you who hated driving and morning and winter hats made of plastic
                                                                          but now you love me I’m sure of it
let’s play
              sitting-on-the-couch-near-the-fire together
                                                                                  and pull the stars down for us
because I’ve run out of candles

and when I kiss you please remember       you’re so beautiful like a weeping tree
looking upward

we may never see another color night
                                                                                                maybe never—


The Empirical

keeps phoning and phoning                           interrupts me writing my great epic  take into account                        I have become a very young country
                                                                                                 an America of sorts filled with gnats—
                           really worried about the fact that we only have six billion years ‘til the sun conks out                   so much to do!
                                                                                    All these absurd facts
laugh at my absurd longing and still
                                                            I deplore the hollowness of  laughter.

there                no    there—    my irony flares
            peculiar pathos            peculiar loss                          what a confrontation! 

take into account                     that art makes the artist
                                                                              or that there is some third thing so full of thingy-ness                 which we could call
                                                            Eros or sky or experimental methodology—
yet       extinguishable             all of it. 

do I need a parking permit for this space       wink
                 because I want something huge and handsome to happen between us
so it will disappear.                                                                         I’d rather drink
on the way to the horizon while everyone slowly evaporates all around me

I am the Washington Monument        let me get the door for you
                                                                                                         at the bottom
I am something else                not a thing at all
                                                              but it’s lovely to watch sensation cascade
down from the soft sky across all these well-behaved objects
                                                               love how it pools up inside me as I cease
and      either way       talking or not talking
                                                                                                     I am dissolving
                                                                                                               my love.


from a Cereal Box: Lullaby

I am manipulating the distance between you & I
                                                                                         dear reader       dear love
and I think I’m certainly too close                                                             one step
and maybe this is becoming the reflection there                                       look up!
                                                                                    in the mirror                    
But nothing has happened yet
                                                                 I’m approaching the kingdom of dullness out is space
                                 and it’s turning me upsidedown so that I can see your knees
how beautiful               like seagulls    

and look away             smile at least and please
please start your next sentence with dearest
                                                                                     or call me something to eat
I promise no one will read it                promise to fold it                  with you inside
and put it in a book                 next to Yeats so no one will ever see it
and I’ll tell people instead about our trip to a foreign country  how I wore a turban
the whole time and stood always with the sun behind me so you’d only see a

And how unreal this is            all words                                                  silhouettes
and no demonstration
so         here is a salad   oranges    and rum
and here is a fork made out of wood           and here is a willow that is also wood
at its heart                                                                                           to sit next to
here is the color of your embarrassment           put it on
I’ve made it for you.  


Ethan Saul Bull graduated from The University of Arizona with an MFA in creative writing in 2008 and then moved to Mexico City.  He also holds degrees from The University of Michigan and Indiana University.  He has lived in various places in the Midwest, Arizona, and England, and now lives in Portland, Oregon.  His first book of poems, titled Inside Narratives, was published by BlazeVOX Books in 2010.  His poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, EOAGH, Octopus, The Delinquent, Sub-lit, and others.