David W. Landrum teaches Literature at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. His poetry has appeared widely.
He edits the online poetry journal Lucid Rhythms at www.lucidrhythms.com.
If time could spin back like a hoola hoop
once more she'd bring her theory and my art
into a single formation with mouths
that uttered those soliloquies. We'd kiss
for an hour at a time, touching our tongues
and teeth, until our lips were sore, our jaws
worn out — and even then we did not want
to stop but sought to run the market up
with kissing usury, like Catullus
with Lesbia's lips embraced and with her joined,
body to his, and all the world in rage
and envious of their wealth. Her mouth discoursed
on Derrida. Theory is everything,
I told her, if you want to get a job.
Gaston Bachelard wrote books on how we know,
with intimacy, our old childhood homes.
We knew the intimacy lips could find,
the spaces past them, could interrogate
and deconstruct the words we spoke, but we
were more eager to speak out words past words,
disseminate the unsaid understood.
And time would tell us writing comes before
our speaking — words set embedded in the white
of our enamel, in striated strips
of muscle, in membrane and in our bliss,
long, long before our lips and tongue could form
the utterance that gave us root, gave speech,
gave ways to say, but also gave us pause
in all the heat, the tumbling into bed,
the words breathed in that nest of hatching
forms, where the best words were inarticulate.