by Kyle Dacuyan
Inside the Whalemouth there is only
pure feeling. The animal plummets
and crashes with religious habit,
a brute repetition, like the beating free
of dust from an ancient rug.
If there is such a thing as soul
I will hold my breath through to it.
I will hold my breath until I am dead
or this is over, I told myself
when the stranger fucked me awake
outside a nightclub in Berlin. In, out,
the consciousness, the not--
and the whale wept me again
into existence, prone upon the pavement,
cheek pressed to my grit bed.
I remembered what a foreigner I was.
How stupid, how English and few
my words are. I walked half the morning
in a gridless part of town until I reached
the fake-poor flat I had been borrowing
from a slick junkie DJ. I knelt on all fours
in his shower like a humbled impostor
but could not clean enough inside myself,
could not deceive myself with dreaming
when I tried to sleep the day away.
I dreamt the dream called Whalemouth
I have had since early puberty at least--
Whalemouth, mammal I cannot claw
myself apart from, cavern I will need to light
with all my violent, bright attention.
Whalemouth, when I would wake paralyzed,
I used to believe that I was dying,
that dying was an interminable dream
of uselessness inside a room that never changes.
That dreams and life keep happening
in the same vulgar circle is the one
indication I have of my ability to rise.
And I did. I took the night bus from Berlin.
Ahead of me, a Turkish mother sang lullabies
to soothe her fearful child. I listened
for some time. When I woke, it was morning.
It was morning, and we had come together
to the edge of the Black Forest.
Kyle Dacuyan lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets 2016, The Nashville Review, and RHINO, among other places. Find him at www.kyledacuyan.com.