Newborn by Soren Stockman


You are old. You do not mind
any more than you minded
being young. It’s exciting not to hold
what you know so fiercely. You can learn
some new things. Pre-sexual joy returns
uninterrupted by sex, and memory doesn’t burn
hotter than it should. The other old men
were wrong. The exact unformable thing you
know better than to expect is here, like a poem.
‘Deserve’ has nothing to do with dying. Those gone
are with you again. Your body cooperates like a witness.

+++Your mother stays up late, your father rises early.
They love going to the movies, and talking with you
+++afterward. Your brother hates when anyone in the car
disagrees with his reckless devotion. You are silent,
+++you will recognize this thick window as something formidable
to be suddenly loved, as you must suddenly break
+++the water’s skin to reach the actual world:

your mouth moves you talk to yourself and your cat
+++++++++creeps into your birthday shivers near you
++catch someone’s eyes and touching like bandits touch
+++++++++a night you understand less than beautiful scenes
+++you’ll love into years begin with hurting someone
+++++++you can be anything you goddamn please
++++your thoughts don’t leave as pretty as smoke
+++++++outside a window you plant your house around
+++++shame you don’t listen to natural music
++++++when something hurt right you became
+++++++so thankful for a moment you forgot every time
+++++you spoke the rest of your death pushed through
++++++++porous teeth straining a leash you could chew
+++the sky expanding   violent   expanding as love left
+++++++++power could always have gone both ways
+++like anyone trembling the straight line time
++++++++shakes in all directions eclipsing patience
in the arms of another lover you did not
++++++++imagine even with love in front of you
there is nothing left of what you are not

++++++++++++++++even this will end you know stillness
++++++++++++++++but your hand has never been still
++++++++++++++++like anyone trying you could fall in love
++++++++++++++++with such a wonderful fool and die as undeservedly as this

+++++++++++++++++++++the movie beginning as your brother
++++++++++++++++++++++++++settles in the dust the light
++++++++++++++++turns over your father your mother speaks
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++late at night you hear her

+++++++++++++++++++++your father’s beard scratches your forehead

++++++++++++++++his warm face holds you          he asks            are you

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++a bad kid?

++++++++++++++++++are you            going to get     close enough

+++++++++++to see   the whole world          as++++++++protagonist

+++++when you are gone      will you find yourself             


+++++++++++++++++++++the previews

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++never end

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++you sit here together

+++++++++++++++++++++the previews

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++never end.


Soren Stockman’s poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, the PEN Poetry Series, Tin House Online, The Literary Review, H.O.W. Journal, Bellevue Literary Review, and Narrative Magazine, which awarded him First Place in the 2013 Narrative 30 Below Story and Poetry Contest. He works at the NYU Creative Writing Program, and as Program Coordinator for Summer Literary Seminars in Vilnius, Lithuania.