Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


[untitled]

once, while on a coke binge,
and away from my mother,
my father drove his car
across the sand
and into the pacific ocean.
before he had done that,
he had given away
all of his possessions,
and eaten
a steak dinner.
he survived.
And then,
he was able
to torture us
with his aristocratic ascetic drama
for years to come.
you can take a pisces
to water,
and all it will do
is challenge them
to cry more than the sky;
i say this with admiration.
how would it serve me
to make this up.

like my father,
i sometimes threaten
to succumb to wounds
and don the trappings
of desires
disguised as needs.
you may know them:
the sensible shoe;
the classical beauty;
the manicured hand
offered in neoliberal compromise.

i once told konrad
about how i successfully destroy
my attraction to strangers.
i imagine them standing above me,
as i lay prone
before them in their bed,
watching as they try
to get themselves
hard and or wet.
then i imagine
their sheets,
the hovering echo
of their mother,
the amount of humidity
in their bedroom,
if they put music on,
how their underwear
tucks in and around
their ass—
and usually,
around this time,
i’ve lost all
interest in them—

“that is so virgo of you,”
konrad said, admiringly.
“that is 1,000 percent virgo.”
virgo could be
my gender, or
it could be
my sexuality.
virgo in narrative lust;
virgo in high fantasy;
virgo in unhappy ending.

i don’t know
what i like more:
the desire, or
the agonizing pleasure
of self-torture.
i like girls, but
girls
don’t seem to like me;
In That Way, at least.
i love women
and
i love men,
just as i love
all of g-d’s creatures;
but that doesn’t mean
that i want them,
or to be wanted by them.

hotly spayed virgin
in heat that i am,
i don’t think that
i have a gender,
but i can now
certainly have an orgasm.
i orgasmed
on my way
to the slaughterhouse;
i orgasmed
on the
kill floor.

i wouldn’t say
that the struggle
is between
masculine and feminine.
there’s nothing
that i’m attached to,
i assure you.
i pluck the sinew,
and hold the cup
marked by my lipstick
up to the cloud’s mouth.
i acquire the fear
that i don’t hear
the affect,
because i don't have
the affect.
i would say
that the struggle
is between
decidedly unmasculine
and afeminine.
the struggle
is between
indecision and not caring.

like all good
poor people and aristocrats,
i know how to have a good time.
why i refuse to
is my own problem.
like all good
leftists of a certain region,
i have never read marx
or the bible.
i know the gossip
well enough
to kneel and resist.
for example,
or perhaps,
for instance,
i was content enough
to be a corpse eater
among the lotus eaters,
and then a lotus eater
among the petroleuses.
and now,
i’m a petroleuse
among the corpse eaters.

Credit


Copyright © 2020 by Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 15, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


“The original, working title of this poem was ‘Agon,’ after the 1957 Balanchine and Stravinsky ballet; the word is also ancient Greek for ‘struggle’ or ‘conflict.’ I wrote this poem as a sort of investigative elegy to my father, at a time when I was seriously struggling with my sexuality, studying astrology, and listening to two albums on loop: Neil Young’s Zuma and Eydie Gormé's Canta En Español con Los Panchos. My father did not become a part of my life until I was eleven, when he entered treatment for alcoholism and substance abuse issues. He died when I was seventeen, and was reportedly unparalleled in his brilliance, eccentricity, and discretion. He was also a fan of ballet.”
Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta

Author


Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta

Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta is the author of The Easy Body (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2017). They work as a barista and full spectrum birth worker. Luboviski-Acosta lives in San Francisco, California.

Date Published: 2020-10-15

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/untitled-10