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,

too. Sage,

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

for home

because I stacked the bricks

laid the mortar, too

played a good-God

and cut.