Poem by Xavier Fields
I am a pickle; sitting in vinegar,
thinking about how and when I will leave.
I ferment. I prepare my immortal body
for the future. Everything is jazz
but I cannot sleep due to the summer heat.
No, due to the roar of the nearby stadium.
Fifty-thousand people saturate that stadium.
They cry weak acid tears. Vinegar
flows from their eyes and boils in the unfamiliar heat.
They cry because they know that one day I will leave
them. It is deceptively simple: forget jazz
and wander until I forget my body.
Wander wide until I am a celestial body.
A comet passing an intergalactic stadium
where a famous band plays space jazz
on polypropene saxophones. I bathe in vinegar
every day so that when I do leave,
my oily, salty skin will worship the heat.
Only once I have left will sultry heat
transfer through our tangled, trembling bodies.
Only when I’m gone will I listen to the Leaves
of Grass and sing for me. Now, a stadium
filled with wealthy people, drizzling oil and vinegar
on their spring salads, are eating my jazz.
They do not know me. I will quit jazz
the second I am away. History. Heat
floods my face like an erupting vinegar
baking soda volcano. My cool igneous body
has always been on display to that stadium.
That is why I absolutely must leave.
I plan on falling away like Autumn Leaves.
Pieces of myself slide by behind a jazz
standard. The cacophonous fans in the stadium
make me sick. I am dying from the heat
and soon this contagion will destroy my body.
These country cucumbers have never tasted vinegar.
I take another shot of vinegar before I leave.
My frigid, winter body is now void of jazz.
Goodbye, friends. Next stop: the heat of my new stadium.