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Two Poems by Patrick Dundon | Word Riot

September 16, 2015      

Two Poems by Patrick Dundon

Listen to a reading of “I Want to Begin Once Upon a Time” by Patrick Dundon.

I Want to Begin Once Upon a Time

Your face:
a far off stampede,

an envelope
I once steamed open.

Jupiter rises

behind the 7-11

and I think
of all the other

moons, little ticks
orbiting bodies

not our own.

Astrologers say
it is a planet

of expansion
of abstraction

of luck.

But I am done dreaming.
In bed, I studied

your tattoos—
on your wrist,

a house with roots;
on your ankle,

an unfinished eye:
beneath it, a word

I couldn’t make out.

I want to say
that life is made

of belief
but that is not it—

artifice, yes,
but something else:

the way grass
resurges after fire.

Nothing could wake you
not even

my hand on your face.

Listen to a reading of “Poem Written While Being Stood Up” by Patrick Dundon.

Poem Written While Being Stood Up

I’m waiting for a text from a guy
named Grégoire who I’ve never met.
Grégoire is an actor. I saw a picture
of him pointing a gun at another actor.
He texted me ‘thing’ instead of ‘think.’
I think I would have sex with Grégoire
based on how he looked holding that gun.
Loneliness is a concept I never did quite
understand but got really good at
anyway, like the quadratic equation
that my seventh grade math teacher,
Mr. Heath, used to recite like an
incantation, his perfect biceps lit
from underneath by the overhead
projector. I whispered it over and over
until it became a lullaby to sing
myself to sleep. Last night I was talking
to Sara on the phone about how sad
we both felt without anyone to fuck,
and we call ourselves feminists, but so
what if I just want to wake up in the arms
of another feminist to make myself
feel better. It’s not that sex is all there is,
but it’s most of it. Sara tells me
just fuck him, tells me just do whatever
you want, who cares. I admire the way
Sara cooks dinner every night. She roasts
vegetables while I open the microwave
door, but I’m lying—I never actually
use the microwave, not because I don’t
trust it but because I don’t like the way
it makes food hotter than seems
physically possible. Just today at the cafe,
I wrapped my self-help book in the dust
jacket from a volume of poetry I haven’t
read but should, and made eyes with a guy,
hoping he’d notice the title. It’s a book
about living in the present. I opened
the locker inside my chest and took out
all those heartthrob pin-ups: men
in their skinny jeans who love
bell hooks and write anti-folk songs
with lyrics I actually like. I present myself
as perfectly as I can. It takes me twenty
minutes to fix my hair but you wouldn’t
guess it. The point isn’t having perfect hair.
The point is looking like you don’t.

July 002About the author:

Patrick Dundon is an MFA candidate at Syracuse University where he serves as a poetry editor for Salt Hill. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Poor Claudia, Smoking Glue Gun and elsewhere.

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