Scott Keeney


Be bitter, I say, it will be ok. Remember the day
we did cocaine in Abraham Lincoln's log cabin:
we couldn't tell if it was morning or night, if we
were kids or just a couple of fucked up adults.
Remember we removed the shelves from the fridge
and you crawled inside for two minutes before
I let you out because it was something we figured
no one had ever done before. Pioneers is what
we were, what we were going to be, painting songs
from the east coast to the west, singing abstract art
to long-haired preppies in ripped jeans and smoked
leather and feathered-headed burnouts in alligator
shirts, scribbling poems in the dust that shows up
in diagonal shafts of sunlight. But the sunlight
was just another kind of water, one part present
and two parts not: going and gone. Remember
we swam from the porch to the dock and dropped
ourselves into the lake where we ran like the cops
were chasing us through the woods after we broke
into the liquor store, how we ran across the lake
that night, how we said we would never do that again
so three weeks later we started doing houses.
Be bitter, I say, it will be ok. Remember the day
we could have been so much more, tooting the girls
we teasingly called Muffy and Buffy with Benjamins
in the shiny black attaché of their million-dollar,
Daddy Warbucks Monticello home, taking it in
like catechism, bend by bend and blow by blow,
welcoming the slummers like good slummees.
Remember those scattered moments, suppressing
our anger at the larger world, our lot, our hand,
our inherited repertoire, strumming secondhand
guitars and crooning "A man saw a ball of dirt
and worms, vaginas twinkling in the night, fire-
wing and shiver-hum, decapitated earthlight,
oh oh, oh oh, oh a woe oh oh," etcetera. Now,
a single, large-sail cloud in the sky takes me
to where you are, where you would be if
you were: the water tower, the cross on the hill,
the empty woods behind the shopping center.
Be bitter, I say to myself, it doesn't matter anyway.

Scott Keeney is the author of Sappho Does Hay(na)ku (Sephyrus 2008). His poems have appeared in anything anymore anywhere, Columbia Poetry Review, failbetter, New York Quarterly, Poetry East, Shampoo, Stirring, and many other literary magazines. New work is forthcoming in Court Green and Mudlark.

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