Thomas Patrick Levy

And sometimes Scarlett I am afraid to touch you with these hands I've broken over steering wheels and fuel pumps and you're always wearing your whitest skirt and everyone's always noticing how your legs are the legs of a pale model and my sad shirts are made from paper wrinkled like Woody Allen's forehead and you and I both know you love it you and you and I both know you just want to rip each page in two and claw into my chest and hold my heart that cries I'D WISHED I'D LISTENED and hold my sweaty heart that shakes with the idle of an engine


O Scarlett I can't keep but worrying that one day your lipstick will explode your pretty face and I can't keep but worrying about the thinnest part of your wrist that you hang up above your head and god you always carry that purse filled up with a forest made of all these poems I can't keep but writing down and when I finish maybe you will be okay but please I beg you let me teach you how to use a gun because you and I both know your lipstick can break a man in two and god I've seen the way they come undone each limb broken off like a lettuce heart and you just walk away while they fall onto the curb to be kicked around and oh can you see there another wilted root and can you see there another bitter stalk


O Scarlett when I touch you in the bedroom you make noises like the air pushing through the tallest grasses of a field and as we fall asleep I can't keep but thinking how I want you to yell back at me with your father's fists how I want your fingers made black with grease to ruin all my favorite clothes but I will never tell you how it hurts to sleep like this with my mind opened all over the sheets like the hollow of a squash while I forget how softly your clothes whisper when you drag them across the floor and as I forget how your heels crack when you brace them into our bed posts


And sometimes Scarlett you are so far from me and I try to follow you by following the scraps of yellow cloth that you spit out as you go away and even though I don't live in a fairytale the scraps don't lead to you so I go back home to wait in our apartment and listen to it repeat your words back to me and all night while the walls sing THERE'S NOTHING SADDER I stare through the black glass watching garbage float around in the dark heat like flies and I wonder how close to death I'd be when you came home shouting THERE'S A HUMMINGBIRD and your hips moving inside your dress like the bald tires of a truck and all the while your tongue slipping in and out of your mouth like a careful snake of yellow string








These poems were written almost entirely over the course of two days which I spent in Seattle writing at Summer Robinson's Pilot Books Bookstore. I drove nearly straight through from Los Angeles, sleeping in my back seat in a rest area just outside Sacramento and eating mostly Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Salads (TM) from McDonald's at truck stops and gas stations. I began writing these poems (which is now a series of 20 or so) mostly in my head. The poems were completed inside Pilot Books, on the couch while customers filtered through the small store. These poems have been accused of "celebrity worship." My only rebuttal is that these pieces are mostly fictional and they are mostly not about Scarlett Johansson, Tom Waits, or Woody Allen. If these poems were to be set to music, I would require that the music be recorded in a very large room and the instrumentation be entirely acoustic. My grandmother might play her hand-bells from behind a barrier of blanketed plywood and the real Scarlett Johansson would read the poems through a megaphone.