In the era of nonconformity, I conform
To the strictest of regulations. Take my pillow.
I rest no more in the halo heart of Hollywood.
I am indebted to the dust mite and the angel.
I am what was said in the dais. I speak for uniforms.
Lengthening it out, always lengthening it out.
The tributaries of the moth. The ocean is old.
The Earth older. Nights I have origami nightmares.
I listen to Gustav Holst. Jupiter out tonight.
No day. No night. Just Jupiter, homely as a
Blanket belonging to a vagabond. Suspended,
Innocent, all innocent, Mars too, the red one,
And IO, poor broken IO, my moon browbeat
By mythology, the sun innocent, the comet innocent,
The fractured diameter of the Milky Way innocent.
How I wish I could practice the silence of space.
The nocturnal sexuality of the astronomical leaf.
I have no counterpart out here in the paper zone.
The cars swipe me like knives or robot jackrabbits.
My laughing cage splits at the heart. I am nothing
If not a part of the cantilever and the airy drift
Of the bulb. I listen to the forces glass into light.
The Atheist Wedding
First of all, there was crying, so you don’t have to worry about that.
There was pageantry. The groom came out to the theme from Star Wars.
The entire room was draped in white, as if to form galaxies.
The galaxies were white, the entire room was white except for the elk head
That lorded over the proceedings, but it only seemed to lord, of course.
The officiate was a penguin-shaped man who walked the couple
Through their shared pragmatic vows, and then declared them married
By the Universalist Life Church and the internet it was founded on.
The bride lost control of the ceremony but once, and held herself back.
The guests left, or most of them anyway, right after the cutting of the cake.
Each reception table was decorated with centerpieces from sci-fi movies:
A Star Trek phase pistol on one, the furthest furnished with a Death Star.
There were some dubious motorcycle characters parked at the bar.
The newlywed game was a gas. The groom nodded vigorously
Like an aggressive duck and joked about his wife needing to be right.
Outside, the venue was lit up in purple, and it was a purple valley night.
Only a smattering of people danced when it was finally time to dance.
The galaxies remained white, and the elk head stayed mostly out of sight.
* * *
Alejandro Escudé is the winner of the 2012 Sacramento Poetry Center Award. The winning manuscript, My Earthbound Eye, was published in September 2013. He received his master’s degree in creative writing from U.C. Davis and teaches high school English in Santa Monica, California. His poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Rattle, Phoebe, California Quarterly, Main Street Rag, as well as in an anthology entitled How to Be This Man, published by Swan Scythe Press. He lives with my wife and two kids in Los Angeles.