Memory Sickness, in Khmer
One returned to drugs or never left them.
Television as a second act. One loved a woman
Taller than himself and left while she was pregnant.
He has agents, handlers, lifts in his shoes.
He breaks a rib and moves on and on in ceaseless industry.
The leaves turn, the altar of invention wans into parody,
The self lilts ever more inwards. Masks collect as evening
Drapes off the table into the future. Velveteen.
And still we have to speak of her breasts,
Or the one who left citing irreconcilable differences,
Or the one whose wife left him. How his drunkenness bled
Into everything, and everything into night, and night into a feeling
Of familiarity. And you will recognize this sculpture as your own,
All the days in the dirt, the same avoidance of pain
Staring down the gun barrel. Come October you will see all
Suffering as your own and the days will become bleached with light
And your bones will fill with air and you will think:
This photo was just someone trying their best,
Still who is that man who looks
Directly at the camera
If not you
David Joez Villaverde
Editor's note: This poem was written in response to a specific cast photograph by Alex Berliner (USA) from the Interview with a Vampire film premiere in 1994. Click here to view.
David Joez Villaverde is the winner of Black Warrior Review's 2018 poetry contest and his poems in Crab Fat Magazine and L'Éphémère Review are 2018 Best of the Net nominees. He has been recently published or is forthcoming in Yemassee, RHINO Poetry, The Indianapolis Review, Yes Poetry, and Occulum. Visit him at schadenfreudeanslip.com
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