Self-Portrait of the Poet within a Mosh Pit
The laws here come down to gravity, motion, and reaction.
Guitars in tandem, monkey-wrench treble cleft
yanking exaltation from our throats. Shrill bend
and release. Even music must fall, or fade rather, away.
Any art is simply the abandonment of success,
the acceptance of failure to be perfect. Bass notes
pulse through this throng of flailing bodies
like a slow arrow bending and contracting in flight.
At the speed of an elbow or back of hand everything
in a room can change. The postures of wrath take
many stances. For example: my nose is bleeding.
The course of blood leads into a course of reaction.
Small gatherings of wall huggers watch in amusement,
as I whirlwind swing my arms into blurs.
Heads knock together or roll to the sound of punk rock.
What is put into motion stays in motion until
acted upon by an outside force: in this case, a girl
slips into the mosh pit, scything the air
with limbs backing everyone away. This is not
a love affair, she and I staring at each other’s noses
acknowledging our matching stains on band shirts.
But, it is a bond. Later, she will sit on my shoulders
to see the finale. I write her into a poem
not because she was beautiful, but because
she wiped her nose on my sleeve, a snail’s trail
of aftermath now patterned on my shirt, and then
she grafted a rusted sunset into my mind with a smirk.
Walking Down Nixon Road
The day is gray with winter. Early December
and the world doesn’t conclude that it’s ending.
Smell of brushfire. Taste of bitter, humid air.
The birds are doing something with their throats.
One might call it singing. The dogs in the next yard
are doing something with their throats too.
One might call it howling. Cigarette smoke
like a vesper. Twilight like surgery cutting long
the shadows to remove light. Apathy? Or is this
vanity: to name the ways the world forgets
it will end, if ever. Clouds in the final dayglow
makes the mind imagine body bags. Now the moon
haunts the low horizon. If one has never believed
in ghosts, now is the perfect time. I am one:
a nightwalker ambling along the highway, sobbing.
The birds are still singing. Dogs, howling.
I’m walking, no, searching, no, believing, perhaps,
in a place called home that belongs to me
something I can fill with my things:
eighteen cigarettes, a body (shivering), and
whatever you want to call the removed skin
of the soul: memories and/or nightmares.
And what am I doing with my throat, you might ask?
It aches with the longing to sing, of course.
—Published 20th December 2018
About Samuel J fox
Samuel J Fox is a non-binary/bisexual poet and essayist living in the Southern US. They/He is poetry editor for Bending Genres, a creative nonfiction reader for Homology Lit, and frequent columnist/reviewer for Five 2 One Magazine. They/He appears in numerous online and print journals; you may also find them/him in haunted houses, graveyards, and coffee shops depending. They/He tweets (@samueljfox).