Tuesday, August 3, 2021

A Hundred Trains Leaving by Brendan Constantine

I gave up on acting because I couldn’t cry
on demand / and I was sure someone would
demand it / Every script ever written calls
for crying / especially the comedies / There’s
no way / I said / The director will nod at me
and I’ll make a face like I’m trying to grow
a tree from my forehead / or worse / I’ll try
to make a noise like weeping / which only
works for concert cellists / and it’ll be awful /
just awful / Well / it’s been thirty years /
I’m as many lives away / and brother / I can
cry like a man painting a wall / Where do you
want the tears to fall / How long / How loud /
At any time there’s a hundred movies playing
inside me / a hundred trains leaving as many
painted stations / a hundred lovers waving /
a hundred orchestras playing over each other /
without harmony / I’ve got motivation I can’t
use / This town will never work in me again /
Look at me / Don’t look at me / That's my cue

Brendan Constantine’s work has appeared in Poetry, Best American Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Tin House, and other journals. His most recent collections are Dementia, My Darling (2016) from Red Hen Press and Bouncy Bounce (2018), a chapbook from Blue Horse Press. He teaches at the Windward School in Los Angeles.

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