POETIC EXCELLENCE: CHATEAU MARMONT by DONALD RAWLEY

Presenting the fantastically Excellent poem Chateau Marmont by His Excellency Donald Rawley, author of the Excellent short story collection Slow Dance on the Fault Line and the most Excellent short story Sheherazade in Hollywood, published in the November 28th, 1995 issue of The New Yorker, page 126. Please read excerpt here. Bittersweet remembrances of Los Angeles, circa 1996. Text via Tryst.

I cannot reason your midnights
and your abandoned mornings.

You leave me in bedrooms
with opened windows,
stranded in the palsy
of a red hot October wind
from Mexico,
and deserts I do not know.

As if you jumped
or sprayed the air
with a delicate poison
and my lungs would
turn crimson with want.

This is the one hotel I know:
its lobby of smoke stained walls,
its beds of old linen,
the odor of thorns,
bloomed out oleander,
and dry grass,
your teeth in my ear,
and your cigarette
at the side of the bed
like a timer.

This frizz of air
washes our sex
up into the hills,
past the dilapidated breeze
of the Sunset Strip.

I give you iced papaya
and an oiled stained towel
as you find ghettos
of weeks and beetles
snapping like fire.

You are the carnal shadow
who beats my skin like a drum,
when I discover reds
in traffic lights and window lights,
and the twist of my neck,
when the rock and roll
wets the wallpaper,
and you say you want more.

I want you to take me in
with no direction
when you are in Mexico City,
Montego Bay, and all points south,
a deliverance, and a taunt.

I want to hear your boots on the floor.
I want to see the stealth of your disappearance.

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