Crown of Sonnets—Me in the Multiverse by Prince Bush • Empty Mirror

the moment / credit: de

Crown of Sonnets—Me in the Multiverse

My head’s four o’clock flowers sprout on cracks
In the sidewalk during predawn, concrete and grass
Prepares—too early, all asleep—bloom out my head.
Last night, recalling the Business Relationships of the boy I crush
On, packing them, but left the backpack that could sponge
A hit-and-run—if I would’ve remembered
Whimpers my mother apropos what I
Forgot to bolster on my back. The bus
Rumbles to my body around six. In
This universe, none of the bus drivers
Know me—they sidetrack to clashing routes. Folks
Swerve and swivel in their chairs, but stay fixed,
The universe I’m hit without witness.

The universe I’m hit without witness
Chit-chat wit to wit heretofore, I-am-
Phoning-since-I-have-a-secret spiel, spill
My weakness to electric signals. Gay?—
It’s a phase. In this universe I call
My father; I do not lose his fondness,
Naiveté. Though tomorrow, his choice
To leave a sun is the same. He slings, teaches
Me streets till the niche knocks open-ended
Cornucopias of cash until we’re handcuffed.
He says at least it’s me and him, but we are
In unlike cells. I write words to the crush—
Minds in metaphase, forms now telophase,
Love’s not a phase—somewhere we’re not a phase.

Love’s not a phase—somewhere we’re not a phase:
The pulpit, pastor preaching pray passions
Away. In this universe, I stay still
During the sermon, go home to the sink
Stare into the pupils which constrict
And dilate as I manipulate lights
Before ceasing to stall—dear God, help me travel
To hellfire with a torch touch
Him the way the pastor touched me.
No answer. Assuming the prayer’s wrong,
I ask my pastor the matter, he tells me
There’s no helping those who sin, not knowing
He helped me refrain, at least till
The boy at choir, with the same soul as him
I keep hidden, songs like sirens to me.

I keep hidden, songs like sirens to me,
My mother pleads and promises they will not
Hurt me, though she told the uncles, do what
You must—no son of mine can live that way,
So I concede and meet with family
Pack of hyenas tearing at raw meat,
Or attacking a lion, in this u-
Niverse, I appear to be two of the same things,
But things: discard and desolation, food
For cousins, the beware of what comes if
One’s mind and body wanders alone too
Long. I walk around with a blackeye, for-
Lorn. My mother makes me believe it’s luck—
The men talk sense into me, when they do.

The men talk sense into me; when they do
I become a man too, one to prove points,
From puny to steel through skulls of the chaps
Who face gun claps for reckless ransacks.
I recite a rhyme to the gang I claim,
In this universe, follow the people
Who say they’d kill for me, and would, but would
Also kill themselves, and do, doing drugs
Amongst other things. Our mothers call us,
And we don’t return them, give rejoinders
Like quit pestering us. We ride tinted, live
Tentatively, ready to die, today
Or one day, for whoever or when and
Once, we fulfill that promise.

Once, we fulfill that promise,
Nuclear family household, cooking
Conventions, bread in convection oven.
No, this is not the life I want but this
Universe fabricates my father’s faith-
Fulness, and all our ignorance, cheats just
Happen here on the board games, three people
To play, all we have. My secret presses
Pause, how did I turn out gay here, how
In this home—unbroken till I’m kicked out
For being gay. What game do I have now
Nearing starvation on the street, that I
Haven’t played—in charades what does it mean
When two people pretend to never know

When two people pretend to never know
What others think of them, they marry.
Though my neighbors don’t pretend here,
Gay but married to women, and walking.
I don’t ween for a moment of gay love,
Or wane for one second on common lore:
I keep going down the houses, bleeding
The same blue and pink crafting lilac to
Clouds and sky, the only others I know.
At the ice cream social, everyone brings
A mannequin—it is my time to pick
One that suits me best. All of them are men,
So I choose two of them, ask for purple
And all the blue, and all the red.

And all the blue, and all the red
Up there with the nine muses, those waves—
Yes that fade, that one, washed against water,
In this universe, I step in the world
Of a barbershop—seeming to be ghost
In enough ways to get serviced. Hair-
Cut crisp, line etched in the corner like I
Could never do, I frequent the barber
I first went to, never tried another,
Loyal to a fault like earthquakes to their
Fault lines. I fancy the fade, carve scalp, cleansed
Steel, all of it, O here, I love the whole,
Even the banter, about well—I can’t
Tell anyone, they told me, I’m welcome.

Tell anyone they told me I’m welcome
To tell anyone they would believe me
They tell me in this universe after
He tells me to not tell anyone Lost
This planet’s a circle not a sphere stabs
Of lightning strikes tree branches crunch lean tap
The ground with perhaps tell someone but don’t
Snap I don’t tell anyone the first words
Here also thunder I can not tell
What is thwacking tell someone or tell
No one everything here is a circle
SSS congruence all self-same
To tell anyone they would believe me
Tell anyone they told me I’m welcome.

Tell anyone, they told me, I’m welcome—
But not inclined to recommend or go
Back—I listen to assailants shooting
Cannons into my hippocampus, these
Are crazy people drugs, crazy people
Take mind medicines. I keep swimming through
Torrents of sweat when I speak, decline speech
When easy and sleep as avoidance,
Passed out from water aerobics, so much
Sweat, I pull bowls off my body before
my shirt, sweats, socks, pick the sweat out my hair
Squeegee it toward the drain of my room.
In this universe, I skip therapy;
I’d rather drink salt till I drown instead.

I’d rather drink salt till I drown instead
Of quit sports. The man who sings choir, writes words
To me in the cell, and has a massif
Of science books, plays track, and I keep track,
Practicing my run after him as if
He’s a turnstile—in this universe, mine,
More than any of the others. Footrace
Me, he commands, like Atalanta—yes
I reply, and have natural fatigue
As my Aphrodite: I last longer,
Run slower, and for this win I get kissed
In the locker room—turned into lions
When it becomes more outdoorsy, paws
Playful and for this lifetime, fulfilling.

Playful and for this lifetime, fulfilling—
Fuming, but then Ben Nevis, extinct, gay
Love lives in this universe, in rivers.
No one can avoid drinking it, some have
Tried—the rebels, but the air too water
Cycle makes Adam’s ale. There’s too much love,
I love him because he’s flawed: I love him
Because I can’t stop loving him, full stop.
The state here stacks love on one like a weight—
Is it wrong here to whisper wanton hate?
Yes someone went days without water, died,
But before they died, uttered censored terms
For the area, like something I can’t
Think to say since I’ve dived into the sea

Think: to say since I’ve dived into the sea—
And one is left with only a sentence
Fragment, but also the sea: how is that?
This universe wastes time, knows it’s nonsense,
The universe and time, and its people
Fall in love, go to war, start families
Worship deities, sculpt their bodies, scrap
About governing bodies they built, walk
Right past mountains, above the mantle, through
Trees and thickets like there’s nothing there: there
Without having to be named, there without
Language. But in this universe there is
No way out of naming it. Name it, so
No one can say anything was there.

No one can say anything was there,
But we think there was sun, water, atoms
In right spaces at a certain space
Away from each other. Universes
Are too much to ponder, but in this one
I study them, wonder what I wander
For, somewhere else—is there anyone else
Trying to escape a planet unlike theirs,
Find more perfect conditions, because here
It’s perfect—for who—perfect—when who breathes?
I ignore numbers, look at quality
In contemplating daydreams.

The universe I’m hit without witness,
Love’s not a phase—somewhere we’re not a phase.
I keep hidden, songs like sirens to me:
The men talk sense into me, when they do.
Once we fulfill that promise,
When two people pretend to never know,
And all the blue, and all the red,
Tell anyone; they told me I’m welcome.
Tell anyone, they told me, I’m welcome:
I’d rather drink salt till I drown instead;
Playful and for this lifetime, fulfilling,
Think to say I’ve dived into the sea.
No one can say anything was there
In contemplating daydreams.

About Prince Bush

Prince Bush is a poet in Nashville TN with poetry in *82 Review, Cotton Xenomorph, Ghost City Press, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Pleiades: Literature in Context, SOFTBLOW, and elsewhere. He was a 2019 Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets Fellow.

Business Relationships Book