Heir Apparent

Issue #35: May 2015

Now That’s What I Call Music | Sara Nicholson


One might look toward the sky except

One is only a person, theoretically.

I longed for violence since my thoughts

Were coeval with the sun. Weird

How my body does negate this flower

By trampling it, how I then imagine

Myself—from nature’s POV—as host

To a virus that materializes in the lungs

And exits through the mouth, an infection

We call language. Imagine a world

In which every plant is edible, and just

Stepping on the grass is to destroy, and eat.

I thought about the value of laboring

To shake the verdure from my brain.

I thought my friends were immortal

Until the world around us grew sick

And the cities plagued the mountainsides

With their philosophies of love.

One figures that the imagination

Would be a place of dirt, but one forgets

That, together, water, marijuana, beer,

And a certain fierceness of the air

Perform their songs in this auditorium

We call “the mind.” For you, I’ll wrap

In tissue paper Opal Whiteley’s skull

And paint it green, or pink, and spell out

Your name in rhinestones. It’s too stupid,

Carrying morphine in an ink-blotter

As if “you” or “I” or “one” would paint

With violence the bodies of the dead.

Me, I mean I, I think in iambs

And you, I mean your face, it has to burn.

Still, there’s got to be another way

To theorize the spring—as in, to style

Oneself an intoxicant of wheatfields

And to throw oneself, discreetly, from a tower

And thus to find in evil a sort-of grandeur

And with one’s suicide, to corrupt the earth.

There is no need to put aesthetics

Against the internet, or to drink coffee

And write of the ancient city-states,

Their trade routes, their faith in agriculture.

When I think of the bed that, drunk

And stoned, we’d lie on, I think of the magic

Of being a boy tonight, masculinity being

The the handsomest word we have for death.

I’ll call my internet service provider

And ask them to turn me into a boy.

I’ll drink coffee with you, since time,

As we say, is either “passed” or “kept.”

You’ve been writing sonnet crowns

Beside the evil of your lamp

While the ghosts of ideology flare up

Momentarily, making light of the senses,

One’s senses—if one means “you” or “me”

Or “them”—Mostly, I’m alone here.

We might as well be prepositions

The way “we” touch “each other,” the way

The night builds warehouses inside us,

Mixing concrete in the esophagus,

Installing black wine in the heart.

Modern spelling has failed us so

In what time we have left, I’ll use thorns.

Þe way þe dawn appropriates þose

Aspects of evening we hate. þe way

We can’t stop talking about þe dawn.


I can’t read anymore. The sun

laughs at me when I open my books

so I take out my laptop and write

a scene for the three of us—you and me

and the sun. We’d read but we’re in

a cemetery, so we light bonfires instead

and take the ashes to our library and

use them to bury our books.

You can do a lot more with wood ash

than you can with poems. Mix ash

with water, and you’ll get lye. Put ash

in a bong, you won’t get high.

That rhymes. I’m taking my clothes off

as I write to my lover le Duc d’I-don’t-know

as I write myself into the final, beautiful

scene of some Victorian ghost story

in which I am the ghost and you, the description

of a window that overlooks the sea.

I don’t know why I bother writing

about writing, or why I pull my skirt up

to reveal nothing to you, since my body’s

invisible and this poem, too obscure.

A tree solicited you, so you ate out

its leaves. And me, I put my ghost hand

on the cock of the nearest waterfall

and with my other hand, I’m writing emails

from my sickbed to you in your sickbed.

We’re looking out a window together.

We’re giving pleasure back to nature

which is what our poems fail to do.

So when you get Microsoft Office updates

or iTunes updates or notifications

that your browser is ready to be updated,

think of me, and I’ll ignore them for you

because I’m the creature that dwells

a hundred feet below your computer

in a cave that looks to you like a prison

and there are prisoners here, though mostly

we call them poets, and we’re all together

in a cave beneath you and your laptop,

watching you watch our words float

across the internet, while our bodies suffer

the boredom of unextraordinary life.

You’d like this watercolor I’ve painted

of my idea of the sun. It burns me

in this cave where I’m writing to you,

which is a crawlspace really, and really

there are no other prisoners here

and no food either, except the food

you leave at the entrance while I sleep.

And I’ve been sitting next to you

for a hundred years, feeding you words

as if poetry could sustain your body.

Showing you a better way to eat.