Louie Land

Louie Land is a displaced East-coaster living in Moscow, Idaho. His work has previously appeared in FRiGG Magazine, the Santa Clara Review, Dog Pond, Unwound Magazine, and elsewhere. An active blues/jazz guitarist, his first album, Afterglow, was released on West of Everything Records in spring 2019.

The Bell Unrung

 

I.

Who is like me?

 

Is absence queer?

 

What privileges void erasure’s calculus?

 

Is bitterness at sex—straight or queer—violence?

 

If I am not with you, am I against you?

 

What does addition in LGBTQ+ conceal?

 

Can the excluded exclude?

 

Can I still listen to love songs?

 

Am I an asexual poet or a poet?

 

Who cares to know?

 

Is invisibility privilege?

 

How do you prove cowardice?

 

What unrings a bell?

 

II.

Q: Who else like me?

A: A wrought-iron bell quivering / with the grime of Atlantic saltwater

 

Q: What voids erasure?

A: The body needs shadow to prove / where it longs to be

 

Q: Is this bitterness at sex—straight or queer—violence?

A: A thing is beautiful / not because it lasts

 

Q: I am not with you; am I against you?

A: Like moisture beading / on a brass trumpet / transparent as molten silver

 

Q: How do the excluded exclude?

A: A circle inscribing / exterior and interior

 

Q: Will I still listen to love songs?

A: I’ve looked at love / from both sides now

 

Q: How do you prove a negative?

A: A circle’s inscription / implies a center / of gravity

 

Q: Am I an asexual poet or a poet?

A: Over seven years every cell / replaces the body like wooden / boards of the Ship of Theseus

 

Q: Who cares?

A: Like the sound of the bell / ringing the smell of fresh rain / on hot asphalt the wind that rends ancient oaks and drops / dirt from their roots

 

Q: What privileges invisibility?

A: A shadow requires / body and light

 

Q: What unrings a bell?

A: A promise to the wild / you will not / forget

 

III.

 

 

 

 

IV.

Promise the wild you will not forget

body and light,

dirt from the roots, a shadow

of toppled oaks dropping

fresh rain. The wind

rings the bell, bears the smell

of the ship of Theseus,

boards replacing themselves

every seven years like wooden cells,

silver moisture beading

on a brass trumpet’s interior

and exterior.

The wrong vinyl spins

a nickel in the jukebox,

a beautiful thing at last

with residue of the Atlantic,

wrought-iron gleaming.