Someday I'll Love Sage Marshall
On September 28, Ocean Vuong came to Wesleyan University to share his poetry. In a high-pitched, ephemeral-sounding voice he shared his work. And Ocean’s work is hard to describe. His poems throb and ebb. They move in unexpected ways but always seem to hit home. They speak of violence and, above all, love. The only way I could respond was through a poem inspired by Ocean’s poem titled: “Someday I’ll Love Ocean Vuong.” Fittingly, Vuong himself was inspired by Frank O’Hara and Roger Reeves. I also intentionally drew on what I’ve learned from Eileen Myles and Sylvia Plath.
Someday I’ll Love Sage Marshall
Sage, listen closely—
you are trying to live with a name that
came before you could read.
Just because you bloom purple in the desert
doesn’t mean you are wise.
This is a canyon and
the sand gets in our teeth and grates and grates
and the great lies are the ones we believe in,
are the ones we tell ourselves,
are one —
when I need you.
Sage, listen to the friction in your voice
before it closes forever.
You can drown in time. Ocean
believes in The Word
but who can stand the tides?
With all these lights, you can still see the moon
and that’s something.
With all this time, you can feel what’s missing
even if you don’t know where.
Eileen says our names are our first fictions
but what about God?
Sage, don’t be afraid
the skin is not a wall but
I am falling apart.
Is there a pill that can catch me?
Is there a drink the will go straight
to my veins? Where are the maps for the craters
concaving in my head? Sylvia, I wish I could feel the heat,
there were three of you when the child was born
so why did you bring such worthless metal? Or,
there’s something about the ore
the way it holds together
under the pressure.
The earth is only round
never an answer.
Sage, if this were prayer
you’d get down on your knees, press your face to the crust
and go. But I’m headed through wind
my voice blood-close to the serpent spinning
this web. Is there a drug
that has you? Is there a dream that has me?
Is there a love that’s more than love
or are we always mining for our. These veins
cry. These words
next to you. And I won’t mistake these walls
because I stacked the bricks
laid the mortar, too
played a good-God