Ace Boggess

Subject Matter

How do I speak of our bodies fumbling in the dark & not mean sex, & not mean meaning? We both try to swat a fly we sense but don’t see on each other’s cheek. One of us is the plastic bag, the other an intake vent for an automobile’s a/c: clog soon leads to overheating. Couldn’t we be lovers once & not leave clothing torn by shrubs in the wasteland of our time together? The hardest part to write about is clumsiness; passion flutes easy notes, lyrical & riffing. We bump our heads, chant rude prayers, pull same muscles in our calves. To bed, I say, & let us rest before the trapeze act of death-defying agility. If we lie still, we might miss each other, blending with the furniture, sparing ourselves embarrassment. This is my thesis on natural selection.

Sunday Game

you pass time naming players on the 53-man roster

or memorizing stats from the morning paper.

you grow tense clenching tchotchkes of your team.

you’ve wasted more than half your life

preparing yourself for someone else’s fight.

Rusted Root, 1995

I leased a plot in the nosebleeds—
graveyard of music—& didn’t
anticipate the rhythm’s pull
to magnify distant yearning.

Lexington, Kentucky. I was there
for Jimmy Page & Robert Plant,
a reunion show, but the opening act

(hottest thing out of Pittsburgh,
said the hipster head of the record store
where I worked) stole breath,
remade my adventure.

I wanted the band’s brief set
to continue through the night:

flutes over drums, acoustic guitars
firing riffs like Tommy gun rounds,
bluesy woman & the soulful one,
man’s voice bluegrass mixed with rock.

This is a song of gratitude
for accidents. I forgot why I came.

So high up, I felt as if I were
dancing in an airplane, dizzied
by clouds like strobes in flash below.

Ace Boggess is author of five poetry books: Misadventure, I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, Ultra Deep Field, The Prisoners, and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Rattle, and other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.
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