Britney Spears may be the metaphor
for your life. Your hair needs cut, or
at least styled. Do not take any of this
too seriously? You could love that man,
though, and he’s a much better person
than he lets himself be. Fuck! Did you
just say that? Let your hair be a wild
garden. But please, shave your beard.
Your mother says you will make some
woman very happy someday. Your
mother says a lot of things to be taken,
a casserole!, with a grain of salt. That
man skinboned your chest and neck.
Every day you change the bandages
instead of letting the thing bleed out,
instead of letting the thing heal. Listen
to yourself, son. Really. So tonight
we’ll go to the bar. You’ll meet a boy
there. Unsure if he likes boys or girls,
you’ll buy him a drink, some token
of either friendship, or love or lust or,
what is this? living? We can all hope.
The boy at the bar will tell you a joke
for which you already know the hook:
Britney Spears and a zebra in Quebec.
She’s a fucking god walking among us
you said to the man at the jukebox,
the man pissed we played every track
off Britney Spears Greatest Hits.
I swear he almost hit you, but instead
he walked, whispered under his breath:
Nothin’ but a couple of faggots. Time
hurts. We hightailed it back to the car
and we fought. I wanted to know, Why
do you say shit like that? You asked
who I want you to be. I don’t know.
There is not a word for us, two men
drunk, in love and fighting. Britney’s
on the radio again, some new song
we don’t know yet but consider, two
boys holding each other in the cab
of a pickup, falling asleep and sober.
Britney Spears Watches CNN
and licks the gristle off a drumstick
while photos from a recent earthquake
in Myanmar flash across the television.
Where is Me-and-mart? she asks
and I don’t know how to tell her
of its complicated political climate,
of the savory rice noodles in fish soup,
repressed people under military regime,
monks, bright robes and silent prayers.
Or its real name—Burma—and a long
Buddhist history fused with growing
Islamic sentiments. The correspondent
cuts to another story—Britney Spears
at it again! Drugs and sex, just another
night in Beverly Hills for our former
Mouseketeer. Britney grabs a chicken
wing and I don’t know how to tell her
you can’t believe everything they say.
D. Gilson is a PhD student in American Literature and Culture at George Washington University. His poetry has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Juked, Assaracus, Moon City Review, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2011 Robin Becker Chapbook Prize and is forthcoming from Seven Kitchens Press. Find him at dgilson.com.