This morning, Ray Bradbury is dead and there is only soy milk at my coffee shop. I do not know which to be more sad about, that my body and I are suddenly uncomfortable or that a man I have never met, far away, has stopped breathing.
We are SO EXCITED to announce the first finalist for the Button/Exploding Pinecone Press chapbook contest: SAM SAX, for his manuscript, gay boys and the bridges who love them. Check out (and share!) his poem, above.
Sam Sax is an MFA Candidate at UT Austin’s Michener Center for Writers. He’s the two time Bay Area Unified Grand Slam Champion and has recently had poems appear in Anti-, The Boxcar Review, Muzzle Magazine, PANK, Gertrude, and other journals.
I am the history of battery assault and limitless
armies against whatever I want to do with my mind
and my body and my soul and
whether it’s about walking out at night
or whether it’s about the love that I feel or
whether it’s about the sanctity of my vagina or
the sanctity of my national boundaries
or the sanctity of my leaders or the sanctity
of each and every desire
that I know from my personal and idiosyncratic
and indisputably single and singular heart
She twirls it in her left hand, a small red merry-go-round.
According to the white oval sticker, she holds apple #4016. I’ve read in some book or other of four thousand fifteen fruits she held before this one, each equally dizzied by the heat in the tips of her fingers.
She twists the stem, pulls it like the pin of a grenade, and I just know somewhere someone is sitting alone on a porch, bruised, opened up to their wet white ribs, riddled by her teeth— lucky.
With her right hand, she lifts the sticker from the skin. Now, the apple is more naked than any apple has been since two bodies first touched the leaves of ache in the garden.
Maybe her apple is Macintosh, maybe Red Delicious. I only know it is the color of something I dreamt, some thing I gave to her after being away for ten thousand nights.
The apple pulses like a red bird in her hand— she is setting the red bird free, but the red bird will not go, so she pulls it to her face as if to tell it a secret. She bites, cleaving away a red wing. The red bird sings. Yes, she bites the apple and there is music— a branch breaking, a ship undone by the shore, a knife making love to a wound, the sweet scrape of a match lighting the lamp of her mouth.
This blue world has never needed a woman to eat an apple so badly, to destroy an apple, to make the apple bone— and she does it.
I watch her eat the apple, carve it to the core, and set it, wobbling, on the table— a broken bell I beg to wrap my red skin around until there is no apple, there is only this woman who is a city of apples, there is only me licking the juice from the streets of her palm.
If there is a god of fruit or things devoured, and this is all it takes to be beautiful, then God, please, let her eat another apple tomorrow