Lebanon Blues by Douglas Payne


She cut your eyeballs out of the family
album beloved, put gelatin green leaves 
between your two thighs. 

I don’t know what I take away 
from this: one palette of hair color
shades from zyklon blue to your red-eyed 
blushing blonde. I wonder

if everything is 
recorded: when I walk across the street
to give away my cigarettes to eighth graders:
listen to old men talk about their relationships
with their dogs, wheelchairs, their grandsons
who play basketball on the street in the dark. 

The lamplights on the street 
burning out for the dark, neighbors
in ragged sedans pitching water balloons
packed with driveway gravel.

Tell everyone about fucking your friend’s older brother
inside an abandoned windmill in the summer,
your mother crying in the dark 
with a gun in her mouth. 

I dreamed this just yesterday even though 
your baby pictures blur in my high, melted evening, de Kooning -- 
Someone put this Patti Smith record on backwards
and that same fuck drank all of the bombay gin my god.

There a dog sleeping on the carpet, his drool collecting
on the corner of your glowing star map fallen from 
the ceiling. Cardboard cutout ghost of a dead singer
in your bathroom. Now today it’s next week and I am asleep 
on a park bench in a town I’ve never been to: Lebanon, KY.

Douglas Payne is a poet from San Diego, CA with aspirations to flee east or north. He is the author of If You Have Ghosts (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2019) and Salted Rook (Chest-o-Drawers Press, 2017). His work has appeared in various venues including decomP Magazine, SCAB Magazine, Angel City Review, and the blog of author Dennis Cooper.

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