Dante Di Stefano

Wear Black, Drink Water, Nourish a Fierce Zeal with Locusts and Wild Honey

after Derek Mahon

I believe in love at first episode
and binge watching HBO. I always
plan really cute movie nights with myself
and then fall asleep. My mood depends on
how good my hair looks. I’m the most stressed out
lazy person ever. A good neighbor
would never password protect her Wi-Fi.
I’m sliding across the floor in my socks.
We accept the love we think we deserve.
I drink dirty bathwater like a saint.
I’ve got a bad case of the Thursdays. Turn
that frown into an origami swan
and sell it. Internet kids never sleep.
Count blessings, not problems. Count the chickens
who roost in the belfry of your bad dreams.
Get a life, earthquakes. Get a life, healthcare.
Get a life, education reform.
Stop worrying about what if and start
embracing what will be. Start embracing
cuddly galaxies of absolute light
and epiphanies that are like so true.
What’s never started today is never
finished tomorrow. Scooby Doo taught us
that the real monsters are always human.
Left to itself, the functional will cast
a death-bed glow on what’s been abandoned.
I think I dated the national debt
on a dare for a week in middle school;
I didn’t like the way she chewed bubble gum.
Now I’ve got sunflowers stuck in my teeth
and a diatribe I wrote on napkins
at Arby’s stuck in my sweatpants pocket.
I’m as wrong as two hotdogs in one bun.
I believe in deep fried democracy
and I pick clean the bones of John Donne’s lines.
Lilac greets me with the scent of regret.
I out walk what’s luminary in town.
I stand on a cliff and recite the rose.
I want to be a prophet whose message
unravels the logic of the strip mall.
Carry on and retweet if you agree.

I Am Your High School Love Poem Come Back

 

I’m your purple bubble letter block print
written on loose leaf torn from a notebook
with a unicorn on the front cover.
My fringe is still attached, although you try
to rip me along the perforations.
I contain platitudes, the journeywork
of chalk dust, pheromones, and cheap perfume.
I am most myself when I am reaching
elsewhere. I still sleep in footie pajamas,
but I snuggle sex and Jean Baudrillard.
I haven’t learned it’s bad form to name drop.
In the locker room of my heart, jocks
snap each other with towels like theorists
snapping signifiers into columns.
I haven’t learned how to court metaphor.
I’m earnest. I won’t inflict my hipness
on your ears. Besides, your ears are muffled,
anyway. Anyway, education
is just a bucket with a hole in it.
I perform miracles. I walk on loaves
and fishes raise the dead after four days.
There’s nothing I can’t say that won’t undo
the reader who holds me so close right now.
I clutch. I caterwaul. I somersault.
I gossip a glow back into your mien.
You are, after all, only a poet’s
bust stuck on a pedestal in the stacks.
I’m closer to you than a grabbed collar.
I don’t understand how you became what
you are: a top that spins this frigate earth.
Everything that dies comes back like songs
on the radio and you want to turn
the dial to re-hear the words crumpled
on me in a drawer or a wastebasket.
I assure you I haven’t changed a bit
as I drift into goodbye forever.
Recite me from memory like a prayer.
Snooze and wake and lick the nipples of dew
that linger on the tips of grass before
you forget what it feels like to taste sun
and moon and stars cindered into gravel.
Recite me from memory like a prayer.
Recite me from memory like a prayer.
I’m closer to you than a grabbed collar.
Recite me from memory like a prayer.

Dante Di Stefano’s poetry and essays have appeared recently in The Writer’s Chronicle, Shenandoah, Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, The Hollins Critic, Brilliant Corners, The Southern California Review, and elsewhere. He was the winner of the Thayer Fellowship, the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, the Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, the Phyllis Smart-Young Prize in Poetry, the Bea Gonzalez Prize in Poetry, and an Academy of American Poets College Prize.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of eight books and chapbooks, including This Visit (Blazevox, 2015), How to be Another (Cervena Barva Press, 2014), and State of the Union (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2014). Her ninth book, Heisenberg’s Salon, is available now for pre-order from Blazevox. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, and Verse Daily.