Three Poems

POETRY by Emily Nordling

 

Colin Firth in Period Films

An earnest man, an elegantly st-
stuttering man, a paradoxically
well-toothed British man—
to lead us through the years,
years we’ve deemed simple
simplicity we’ve deemed
desirable because—let’s face it—
who wouldn’t fuck Colin Firth

in a period film?—In spider-lace
cuffs, wet tissue trousers, open
cravat, some weapon at the hip,
he is history, he is what we want
history to be—he is an England
after England’s own heart and he
has Father England arms enough
to catch a swooning Jane Austen
and still have room to catch you—

you boys, you girls, you great
lovers all clamoring for a piece
of earnest, English ass squeezed
into cautious pantaloons, into
history, into script—he will
catch you before you fall too far.

 

Benjamin Banneker

rack moves by mete toward 12
clack clack— wary of the midnight
gong, time’s finish in mm—
ben watches his clock like clock-
work, early to bed. but
this ben’s of another sort;
less lightening, more finely-honed
friction, letters to jefferson
along lines of color lines, old
tom is “guilty of that
most criminal act,
which he professedly
detested in others,”
and this ben won’t praise
him for his phrasing.
he builds clocks. he writes
lesser-known almanacs, tries
to predict the moment
the tides will change.

 

Alexander the Great

Alex of great, of queer
memory is no longer a soldier— instead,
a lover— lines smoothed by time and Renault;
In his hands, I hope for lances
of a different sort. His bed
things—woven by worms—move
with moons; his sheets—with threads
pulled loose, unsnagged by fighters’ pricked
skin— snug with chins
at dawn; dwindled near feet, bunched
behind smalls of backs by sight
of Pytheas’ waxing light. They move
like water, sometimes tickling, sometimes cool
breathe, and others crashing
like great armies, pulled by oracle
moons. He eats on them
like any good conquerer, stains
their waves with wine and blood and a sundry
other historical artifacts, lost
at sea, found in cotton
thread much later; little dykes
seeking orbit and conquest
in a world in stasis.