Two Poems

By: Justin Lacour

Self-portrait (II)

One of my kids asked me the other day “What’s your favorite song?”  I wanted to say something sophisticated like the aria “I am Old and Cannot Sleep” from Nixon in China.  But really, it’s “Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love)” by the Swingin’ Medallions.  No, actually it’s “Wake Up Little Susie,” because I once found myself in a similar predicament, and had to explain to my date’s father that we’d fallen asleep (somehow) in the middle of our date, which was reasonable because “The Everly Brothers have a song about this very situation, sir.”  The experience taught me the importance of arguing by reference.  Also, the simple gratitude of not having bones ripped from my face by my date’s father, who was not an idiot, and was probably just thrown for a moment that, despite my age, my sphere of reference included the music of his childhood.  Actually, my sphere of reference extends back to the dawn of recorded sound, but that’s unimportant to this story.  My date was not an idiot either.  She made miniature furniture in her spare time out of wire and balsa wood, placing them in circles on her dresser, furniture waiting for a house. The highway to my date’s house was dark, just pastures and a stray gas station.  The one time she slept in my room, light shone from passing cars and fell like a mask over her face, before I closed my eyes and everything was dark again.  But maybe this image is too easy.  Anyway, I don’t sleep like that anymore.  That kind of sleep where you hold each other and no one knows where you are.

Sonnet (Chagall Blue)

One time, the forest was so dark

I followed your lit cigarette

towards what we thought was home.

We couldn’t even see what was breaking 

under our feet, our bodies brushing together, 

our hands fumbling for each other.

I don’t want to preserve this moment,

so much as believe it never ended.

We saw the dark blue of the sky near morning;

a blue with clouds and enormous birds,

blue as horses wide-eyed in the night,

blue as a man trying to turn his head upside down.

The blue of fences and rooftops in dreams.

The blue of your eyes alive in a storm.

Justin Lacour lives in New Orleans and edits Trampoline: A Journal of Poetry.  His chapbook My Heart is Shaped Like a Bed: 46 Sonnets is forthcoming from Fjords Review.