MATTHEW CHURCH

Adagio for Bisexual Erasure

Contrary to the common sentiment that art is imitation, I used this poem as a means for actively re-living and re-imagining the past. For me, it was an opportunity for more life as such, nothing derivative. There are certain private matters in this poem that I try to make appealing or accessible to the reader through musicality, hence the title, and image. The musical air to the poem comes, perhaps, from the writing process itself, because I listened to a famous adagio for hours on end, letting it sink into me, and then I channeled that energy into a poem with my own memories, reflections, and preoccupations. Much of my current work shows curiosity, or maybe obsession, with possibilities for being, whether lost, unrealized, or otherwise. In this piece, I’m specifically thinking about how seemingly small choices can have life-altering impacts, how we carry the totality of those choices, and how there is an invisible part of us—Soul? Personality? Something else?—subject to alterations, some of which weigh heavily upon our conscience.

 

Another September dusk and you
think, for whatever reason, of him as
he rarely was, composed and sober. Buttons
freed, undershirt loose against the
plumpest parts of him. In his left hand, a plum
bitten, waiting, a book spread, being read
in the right. La nuit de l’homme spritzed
across his neck, a silver chain hung
there, where you were thinking of sinking
the sharpest parts of you, as if to reach
a pulsating sadness in his jugular. So why
were you, those years ago, so scared,
when he took you down Vine, over
the night’s shadows and their silence,
brought you closer, close enough
to see yourself atop his space dust
irises? And you cowered. What is
the word for when the blood grows
ever slightly colder? When we lose
some hidden part of ourselves?

Matthew Church lives in the midwest with his wonderful family. He holds degrees in philosophy, Spanish, and English from Purdue University. Currently, you can find one of his poems in New Ohio Review, and when the work day is over, you can find him in his basement, cranking a tube amp past the edge of breakup, trying to discover the sonic limits of his pink Jazzmaster. On the best days, his son accompanies him on drums. This is his second publication.

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