Peter Schwartz

bachelorhood: a self-prognosis in 5 parts

strange, how comfortable with mourning you've become
we tell you picture a jar of sunlight and instead you see
acres of minefields with half-wanted carrots

poking up at their edges, you hypocrite
discussing your losses with your mouth full's disgusting
spitting at the wrong side of the school bus

because one of your hearts finds learning distasteful
wasting our time dreaming up new ways to offend yourself
can't you see undressing is the only freedom

in this maze of overdone inklings and autumns
can't you just see that jar of sunlight
and just, for once,

break it open?

you talk about being unable to breathe
knowing music is about so much more
than breath, but if you'd blink like you

used to, not soft and tired but with the power
of our western mountains, you might find that
floating is itself an occupation

and that your hands feel like hammers
not because you were born in a warehouse
but the eggshells in your eyes

so can't you just see, for once,
how this closes your lips?

we really wish you would stop aging into yourself
you're not a tree and you're not abominable
just because it snows

in fact, your obsession with the weather
has hit a real nerve here at the hospital
how you think everything's

a form of pollution or politics, the many sidelines
you weave into our conversations to protect
your pets from drawing the pictures

that would free them, burying that jar
of sunlight in those minefields is your way
of transmitting your dying utopias

like commercials for a failure
that doesn't have to happen.

this is how you avoid fathering yourself
by locking your keys in a spaceship and calling it lost
by obliterating your own horsepower

with crumbs and crickets, raw amnesia
snapping like an unnamed sunset, the black wheelbarrow
of one too many abandoned nights

fills your foxholes and punctures your umbrellas
making you miss the very magnetism that first
brought you to this perch-turned-cliff

as you dump whatever junk's floating through
your circulatory system, as you relapse into nothing
and turn toxic, as you kill the very seeds

that grew you.

you talk about gravity, footholds, hurricanes, missing
landmarks, droughts, cradles, pedestals, poverty and shock-
waves of shadow and ransom

but don't see how that makes you an ostrich
by the sea, a drowning sound bubbling in the fog
of your own animal doubts

another curse rehearsed behind the curtains
pushing an even sicker aftertaste down your throat
because you won't digest

can't you just let go of the rain and statues
sitting outside your window, that dark scene
of good and evil

that forbids you from
loving anyone?

Peter Schwartz's poetry has been featured in The Collagist, The Columbia Review, Diagram, and Opium Magazine. His latest collection Old Men, Girls, and Monsters was published as part of the Achilles Chapbook Series. He’s an interviewer for the PRATE Interview Series, a regular contributor to The Nervous Breakdown, and the art editor for DOGZPLOT.

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