John Davis


Not enough gasoline in the car
for the crash-test dummy 
to asphyxiate and die
so it’s back to believing we can live
beyond death. Now’s about time 
for a language of decibels
that measure the high notes of spring. 
Some days you walk away just for chocolate.
I’d never do that. I’d never not do that 
during sunrise the color of lust.
After making love, passion lingers 
like Southern heat.
For too long we’ve held the night
in our arms, pressing a hand to its chest
to pull the demons out.
Let’s deepen the haze, escape 
from our names which are the bodyguards
of our souls, cross the border
into a new nation, invent a new ending,
polish it like a grandfather clock
that tells a new time.


You grant immunity to the veins in your veins
You allow your whispers to cackle
You sleep in the breath of a lover
You sell your worries to a friend the way you sold
your warts when you traded baseball cards
You make language from blossoms
You thin silence You fatten syntax
You don’t let flu infect you 
You vegan You meat You snow You rain 
You touch a season with bare hands

About Me

I can’t say I wouldn’t cheat and memorize
the eye chart at the D.M.V. I’m so vain
that I bashed a chandelier when its reflection
gave me buck teeth. Go ahead, stay inside
your own city limits. I’m removing language

like a speedo, dancing, dissolving on the floor
like brittle candy. Attitude is opportunity
on a layaway plan. Unlike the northern lights, I’m not
tired of blooming like a Christmas cactus. Just ask
Pablo, may alibi tattoo artist who stenciled my skin 
pink. You can pretend black is a primary color,
wear it on your necktie and charm your neighbor
who swings around a pole like she’s a strip artist.
I wasn’t born this way, with a crush on cuckoo clocks,
but I hoot-hoot bing, hoot-hoot bing on blind dates
when she moves in for that first kiss. You can’t say
our bodies wobble as we reinvent desire but my smile 
opens windows, closes them when lips lock beyond the rope 
of smoke from the roast burning in the oven.

Where you Find your Fence for Living

The red-ribbed leaves crunch under your feet
and your nipples burn in the brisk air because you
are naked and deny that summer has passed the way
you denied the curried carrots imbedded in mint
last August because you couldn’t wait to kiss her,
shine mercy, be the brass doorknob of love.
You blessed gluttony and lust 
when you traded in your lush consumption.
Your fissures and pores sluiced around
like a lyric mystery and flowed past infinity
that was the day you stopped. Your sow mouth
stalled and everything shook like an elderberry tree.
The red berries wilted like your skin, tough
as alligator leather. That breathing you called
standard English, tightened your throat.
There’s no joy like the gift of smiles, but a reveille
to the rogues bloomed inside you having
their way. And now as you trim down
like a hanging fuchsia, you revel in all the fencing
all the water and woods that hold you here.