Type
Poetry
Category
Poetry

Water On Mars

After David Wojnarowicz

The highway that connects the Hudson River with your home planet is honest as a knife. Just over halfway I pull off and park in the shadow of a derelict warehouse. Meteorites glint at me as they cruise by in tight jeans and rolled sleeves but I am here only for you tonight. I sit in my car and enjoy the last minutes of unconfirmed life. Then a figure catches my eye. He is tall and has the head of a dog and the body of a man. His teeth are permanently bared and I follow him into the ruin where he disappears. The side wall of the warehouse is missing and the building gapes open to the cosmos. Towards the back rests a steam locomotive, black as a fusion crust. I get close enough to read the pressure gauge: twenty-three thirty-seven, twenty-three thirty-seven. I am aware of the presence of men around me. I think I see Rimbaud behind a column but it is only the moon. I climb the stairs to the second storey. On the landing a man is leaning, his whole body a question. The busted-out windows have let in interplanetary debris as if it were snow. I leave footprints as I search for your red-dust glow. You are painting when I find you. You are painting water. You are not painting a representation of water. You are creating water with your paint. You are painting water into existence. First a stream and then a lake. I accept your invitation to bathe. I wash my face, my hands, my feet. When I am clean we do the things with collars and hems and buttons with only our teeth. Together we make an ancient shape. When we separate you take a can of spray paint and stencil the symbol for house on my chest. Then, with a pen, you sketch flames engulfing it. From the flames we light cigarettes and I blow a chain of perfect red smoke rings — a trick I could never master back on earth.

 

 

 

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Jarad Bruinstroop is a writer who lives in Brisbane. His work has appeared in Cordite Poetry Review, Australian Poetry Journal, Rabbit Poetry Journal, Australian Poetry Anthology, Peril Magazine, Foglifter (US) and at the Queensland Art Gallery and George Paton Gallery. He is undertaking a PhD at QUT. @jbruinstroop

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