Two poems by John Paul Davis

Exit, Pursued By A Bear

The marriage had bears
from before its beginning,
cubs at first, roly-poly
with baby fat, tumbling
beneath the breakfast
table, play-growling, nipping
at each other. They grew
with us like our shadows
til they took up more space
than we did, musking
the air between us, weighty
as gods, and as predictable.
A year came when they hulked
between us, fur & snouts
& unending appetites.
When the screen door
bounded against its frame
while I heaved a duffel
bag stuffed with everything
I wanted into the trunk
of the older of our cars,
I thought I was leaving
the teeth & claws & hunger
behind but as I drove
off in the stuttering Buick
almost as old as I was
I saw in the rearview
one of them nudging
open the door, lumbering
out & onto the porch,
turning its inky eyes
toward me, then stepping
onto the sidewalk
then kneeling forward
as if to pray. It barked
& just then I knew
even with my foot
urging on the gas
it wouldn’t be outrun.

Lazy Eye

Oh, my lazy eye you’re me,
you’re mine. I love you. No one
is normal; everyone must learn to dance
with the body they are given. Rebel
rebel, errant as a comet, seer
fixed on your own private vanishing point,
how hard you romance the peripheral,
you aren’t listing or lackadaisical
but a lookout, a scout. When I’m tired,
sad or anxious you’re peeking north-north-west
or scanning the gutters or underbrush
or peering past shoulders for an exit
from every party in case it should break
out into karaoke. Heavier
eye, untamable eye, intransigent
mule, you’re like my southern
accent; when I’ve got no bandwidth or the fatty
slosh of my brain is swollen
from too much wine, you do your patented move, only
one you know, predictable as a talk
show host or a funnel cloud. Stereo
vision? Who needs it? Rogue planet, eccentric marble,
magic eight ball, lopsided pendulum,
you tip the scales just by glancing at them.
Who built your last-call stare, your maverick
droop toward my right foot when I need to sleep,
what invisible routes are you tracking,
what dreams & cartographies will you etch
& inside what memory will you stash
each? Most important organ,
not the brain & not the heart, a hidden
tangle of nerves wired to you, buccaneer
eye, a quiet seeker’s muscle, restless
seat of questing & yearning, fluttering,
a rabbit burrowed
deep & flexing in me, ready to run
toward every mystery, craver
after all that I cannot name, light bulb
dark & waiting for electricity,
pop quiz, trick question, pirated music,
query factory, little search engine.



John Paul Davis is a poet, musician and web developer living in New York City. You can find out more about him at http://www.johnpauldavis <http://www.johnpauldavis/>.org