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Three Poems by Bryan Price 

All My Friends

measuring myself against photographs of

people who look brushed against the grain of

their own travails like they know how to play

the piano not so much intuitively but with an

ear for watery sounds like car horns in the rain

or the natural reverb of public restrooms and

then later after it gets dark we play one together

on a tarp laid out beneath us really a chord

organ she taught me to play like an ape to repeat

scraps of choruses to scrape together and

get by on nothing in a systematic way that involves

discipline only what the body wants at a certain

point the laughter is suspended to set the whole

machine on fire lay down and self-immolate…


it’s just as easy to be broken to be disappeared like air into other air fire into other fire water into other water and so on—these are the memories of last rites given from when we were allowed to die at home and then buried under an avalanche of little lord Jesus the altar or mantle made up with decorations of Him in all his oneiric forms no one fed on peaches alone or almonds or even vermin we stopped the truck to chase wild turkeys into the brush sliced the lamb’s belly green as spring spurting running onto our hands and feet and then we hung a goat from a tree took off its skin shared him as the gods do with the rain not pausing for a second to reflect on Guernica or other symbols of plague overtaking the atlas


was that an atomic disaster or just

the sun reflecting off the windows of a train

I am on the toilet reading about obscure saints

I thought you'd be coming in the dead

of night like a fractal or ghost

but there's quite a few moments of daylight left

she asked why are you taking that lighter into

the garage with you that's how marriages end

and I put something pastoral on something

with feathers instead of a skin I learned to play

the guitar sometime between Bush stealing

the election and 9/11 around the time I was

writing the abortion story I have everything in

milk crates from then it's all in pink ink (the

cheapest I could find) someone needs to

write the history of nostalgia from stranded

soldiers to the end of men and then sketch the

moon and its oceans for me or maybe just its

phases from dark navy to the most pathologically

intense neon (or the other way around) no

one knows why I'm like this once the men in

my family put a gun into my ear like I was

the antelope hung my body over the Colorado

river it's vein of blood red sand opening

bright like the creation of continuous time

Bryan D. Price's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Posit, the UCity Review, Diagram, Oxidant | Engine and elsewhere. He lives in San Diego with his wife, a dog, and a cat named for Pina Bausch.

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