Darin Ciccotelli: Argument & The Blinds


It was the next day. Inextricably present
in one another’s routines, we sunk
that version of ourselves—it was time for
breakfast, to ask directions to the
nearest carniceria. You were naked in
the way that seemed insolent—
green panties miscovering you as you
sat at the kitchen table. You were too far gone
to think about a body.

I see the jet after I hear it. It accelerates
above the history of the earth like that
should mean something
when it happens. I got too angry watching
the news. I moved the clay pot
like you asked, but it was hard
not to terrorize ants that already seemed

All mass is interaction. Driving to work,
I see the children’s mural that
outlasted the wall—the rebar exposed,
the hand-holding. You’ll walk in late,
shoes in hand. I’ll kiss your shoulder,
perfume there like a yellow
            It’s what the body remembers to do.

I think of what
it looks like without puddles outside—
the granular, shoe-black oh that they
leave on the street.
                                      A suggestion persists.
The fear is brief, though you get the feeling
that the punch-card is out there.
                                                                  Its information
ready to lay waste to us.

The Blinds

Whichever man that is woman that is
contorting their flesh. Whichever man with men
with a Roman thinness the women—
that private vowel goes public
and all of us stop, and all of us scan
the slate apartments in the sky—
with women with woman with
men. In what swan did
sex descend on them? In what slipshod,
gymnastic arrangements is that sex
made? Like an ampersand? A mound of paper?
All that sex invisible.

The brim above my eyes is my own hand,
and none of us is bashful. None of us
is young or in that horrible, brief career
of early lust—that life
when sex is a hypothetical jigsaw, and all
the girls the boys creep by in
borrowed cars. Turn back—
the surnames are exploding: “Babiarz,”
“Fiskejohn,” “Stonebreaker.”
Turn forward—

that sex invisible. Whatever
embellished sentences have been hewn have been
undone by spartan prose:
“fuck,” “fuck,” “fuck,” “come,”
“please.” Affirmation—
that is a hoarse “yes” that is a hard, dry leaf
sliding on stone. Sex happening
or happened or about to happen
in other rooms.

What brought it into the room of
no description? Into the blue, slow
embroidery of mouths?
How did it lower itself to him? To them?
Their clenched enthusiasms? Taut their eyes shut,
and what is the underside of their eyelids,
and is the underside of their eyelids
dark silk? His her mouth,
on the verge of irradiant noisemaking,
and almost a grin, and almost gaping,
and somehow askew of that, then a shout of
a thousand clovers—I imagine

myself among them—a shout
of lesser clover. Shrieks, a choke.
With vehemence the sex prolongs itself—
moans. Like rubber on low glass.
Sex lurching forward
on entropic, bizarre legs. And forward—
in the midst of that, one sees
the bruise on the body—it is
an individual body. One sees one’s thigh,
cellulite like white grapes—
an individual body.

No one is describing the
sky. No one mentions our civil

Blinds hit the window over and over.
Even the blinds a novice rhapsode.
Even the blinds pronounce
the verb: “fuck,” “fuck,” “fuck.” And there
is the memory of the sex cry as it
erupted overhead, like a bird
of enormous wingspan—and us attending that.

I do not think attention is enough.
There are a hundred thousand episodes.
I could attend them all and
attention would not
be enough. The sex cry will not double.
Eventually, the crowd will disperse.
In our heads might
be salacious pleasure, but it
might also be shame. It could be us
drawn deeper into ourselves.

And yet I crave it. That stillness,
like on a boat at night,
alone. Or do I crave something after?
Do I crave what comes after—
the brave and eloquent speech that
comes after?


ART: Rachel Day, Terrell James, Mr. Let’s Paint TV, Peter Van Hyning

FICTION: Paula Bomer, Andrew Brininstool, Chaitali Sen, R. T. Smith

NONFICTION: Anna Journey,
David S. MacLean

POETRY: Claire Becker, Heather Christle, Darin Ciccotelli, Jennifer Denrow, Jessica Farquhar, Farnoosh Fathi, Stephanie Ford, Geoffrey Nutter, Brian Oliu, Thibault Raoult, Anne Marie Rooney, Tomaž Šalamun, Jordan Sanderson, Jacob Sunderlin, Gale Marie Thompson, David Wojciechowski

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