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Gorgias in Love

To say we have a history means she was sitting on the bed.
Having length, breadth, and depth. In the movie, the man
who’s lost his short-term memory writes his lover’s name

in reverse across his chest. But without two known points,
a thing remains boundless. Neither unmappable, nor veered
off, nor a gap. It’s best to think of it as a problem, like if

the ground is wet, it is raining. A November or March,
in the hallway or bedroom, either we were in love
or not. For example, If you walk out—I wish to discuss

the nature of things. The bedroom with nightstand
and alarm clock and a nightstand and alarm clock.
In the movie, we do unspeakable things to one another.

The lover finds out to love means outside of time,
while remaining aware it could end any moment.
Knowing the distance from mirror to light switch

we can find the bed. The name spelled out, rightly,
in the reflection. Do we hang the mirror on this wall
or this wall? Her on the bed or near the window.

Hearing the name repeated isn’t the same as tasting it.
Slightly embarrassed, contemptuous, but even so,
pleasant. To the ultimatum, walking out the door.

Yet if the gap’s irreducible, then what to make of failure?
For example, a man flying over the sea. Let’s
assume falling. The apartment window faces the light

of late-night Chinese take-out and a three-story magnolia tree.
What burns to illuminate and what must be filled in later.
The man who can’t remember writes above his bed

(in French), the one I love is the one sleeping next to me.
A pipeline from bed to door, by which the words get sent,
the consequence’s clear. We behave badly. Or,

near me. How to say that? The lover marks her thighs
with arrows, and the man forgets to count the stops
made by the train. She carefully constructs her words

and attaches to them a name. But necessary and named
doesn’t make a thing desirable. At this moment, a man is flying
over the sea, so we need a new test case. To each their beetle

and their beetle-box. The homonymic clamor, a hail
like “gorgeous.” It’s what I’d call amber, but a shade or two
darker, opaque, and thumb-shaped, asleep or only bored.

What gets filled in later. In the movie, there is a difference
between forgetting the one who sleeps next to you
and forgetting to bring change for the parking ramp. But

how to say that? Outside the apartment, the sky was either
snow or rain. Let’s assume we were in love or not in love.
The beetle crosses the floor in this direction, then this direction.

Posted 02/25/09
"Gorgias in Love" from The Currency by Paul Otremba ©2009. By permission of the publisher, Four Way Books. All rights reserved.
Books by Paul Otremba
Comments (1)
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An excellent poem. Appealing arrangment and narrative, order and choices of words, variety of thought, statement, counterstatement. The ending something of a mystery, which is a plus, though perhaps it is not quite a marvellous mystery -- that may come in subsequent readings of the poem.
11/23/09 11:45pm