Manzano Mountain Review
01 May 2018
“the lizard / in the bathroom / where I left it alone”
A lizard dies. An observer of an annular eclipse longs.
The online literary journal Manzano Mountain Review released their second issue today and two of my poems are included! I wrote the first draft of these poems back in early 2015; several revisions later I’m happy to be able to share them with you.
I started this poem in 2015, but it’s based on an essay I wrote in 2013, after I left a lizard alone in my bathroom, and the next day found it dead. I don’t know how it died. I couldn’t stop thinking about how my decision had turned out so badly for this poor lizard, and I was frustrated by how little I know about caring for other life forms that wander into my living space.
After I wrote the essay, I self-published it on “Hi”, the fantastic photograph and story-sharing site co-founded by Craig Mod that closed down in 2016 but is now archived online and “on a two-inch by two-inch nickel plate […] stored in five cultural institutions around the world (including the Library of Congress).”
In a poetry writing workshop in 2015, the instructor had us bring in our writing from other genres to repurpose as poetry. I printed out the essay and took a pen to it to whittle it down to something that resembled a poem. In later drafts I played with form and white space, with grammar and syntax, with images and concepts, trying to capture that hopelessness and guilt I felt.
I keep returning to unrequited love in my poems. It really annoys me that I do. Let it go, Richard! Move on! Leave it in the past!
During solar eclipses, I’m reminded of a particular summer day, and I’m reminded of how unrequited love is a kind of eclipse, a seemingly impossible geometry, how the other seems to always eclipse the self, how they seem to form a bright ring around you that sort of leaves you absent, how dangerous and blinding that can be, but how we all keep showing up for it anyway.