Poetry: Truong Tran

you read a book that begins as obligation you owe it to your friend who was once your student you read it in the hopes of framing its virtues in a few sentences you read a book in the shape of a key a door appears and the weight of this key sits in your hand you are past the point of the obligatory rendering you are intrigued you are held by the weight of what’s written uneasy in its image unwillingness in its gaze you are reading a book made up of unwritten words you describe it as beautiful but want to retract the word in that instance you weigh the weight of that key in your hand you thread the hole you turn the key you unlock the body the door swings open it creaks with history you unlock the body to find bodies within you read this book you describe it as beautiful you say the light is unbearable as you bear it all the same you accept the consequences of your own doing

your gay and proud neighbor makes you a gay and proud neighbor he tells you that he’s cleaning out his life he gives you a box of vintage gay of porn filed and sorted each sordid detail is lovingly saved labeled in files of small medium and extra extra large you take it you keep it you store it in your basement next to a stack of old nature calendars some day you think some day and then one day months later you hear from a neighbor that your neighbor passed you read about a famous artist who killed 9,000 butterflies he titles the piece in and out of love he calls it art you think to yourself what a fucking asshole you think to yourself this one’s for joe you cut 9,000 butterflies out of assholes and nature and dicks of all sizes you tend to react through the act of making you know this about yourself you make art out of 9,000 paper butterflies cut from images of nature and assholes and dicks of all sizes and this you know you call it art

a friend befriended on Facebook sends you a package of expired pills the note she writes reads something for your art you separate them by colors you save them inside prescription bottles these amber colored bottles you’ve been saving them for years for when some friend befriended on Facebook sends you a bag of expired pills you can still read the names on printed labels crossed out with black sharpies this makes you feel strange strangely invasive you think about the young guy in lynch’s blue velvet he’s sitting in a closet in his underwear watching you remember as a teenager owning a vhs copy rewinding the scene you’re replaying it again you replay it again you save the pills for some future art project for when you need you need to explore addiction as art