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Hammond B3 Organ Cistern by Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Hammond B3 Organ Cistern
Gabrielle Calvocoressi

The days I don’t want to kill myself
are extraordinary. Deep bass. All the people
in the streets waiting for their high fives
and leaping, I mean leaping,
when they see me. I am the sun-filled
god of love. Or at least an optimistic
under-secretary. There should be a word for it.
The days you wake up and do not want
to slit your throat. Money in the bank.
Enough for an iced green tea every weekday
and Saturday and Sunday! It’s like being
in the armpit of a Hammond B3 organ.
Just reeks of gratitude and funk.
The funk of ages. I am not going to ruin
my love’s life today.
It’s like the time I said yes
to gray sneakers but then the salesman said
Wait. And there, out of the back room,
like the bakery’s first biscuits: bright-blue kicks.
Iridescent. Like a scarab! Oh, who am I kidding,
it was nothing like a scarab! It was like
bright. blue. fucking. sneakers! I did not
want to die that day. Oh, my God.
Why don’t we talk about it? How good it feels.
And if you don’t know then you’re lucky
but also you poor thing. Bring the band out on the stoop.
Let the whole neighborhood hear. Come on, Everybody.
Say it with me nice and slow
   no pills  no cliff  no brains onthe floor
Bring the bass back.    no rope  no hose  not today,
Every day I wake up with my good fortune
and news of my demise. Don’t keep it from me.
Why don’t we have a name for it?
Bring the bass back. Bring the band out on the stoop.


It’s three minutes to midnight. I’m barefoot and eating muscat grapes. Some green sweetness is dripping down the keys from my fingers. A bit of grape skin stuck in my throat tells me I am alive. It’s the little things, I think, that anchor me to this world. Hair caught in my scrunchie. Pen smudge on my thumb. The red blinking light in the kitchen that tells me I’m out of cold water. Some days, when they make their presence known, the discovery sets my whole body ablaze. I’M ALIVE, I want to shout from my balcony. I’M ALIVE I’M ALIVE I’M ALIVE.

No one tells you about the incredible pain of wanting to disappear and yet wanting to be the first thing your beloved sees in the morning when they wake up. How can I live two lives and see both to fruition? How do I reconcile with the self that yearns to be here and the self that wants to die? When I tell you I am wounded I mean the world has cracked open, there at the rind.

Every day that makes me get out of bed is a checkpoint I save as if I have an opportunity to come back later and redo my life after battling with monsters. Every day my feet touch the floor I know I have chosen not to meet my maker, at least not today. It is incredible what I would give to make sure the love of my life remains my love, remains my life. For example: eat breakfast. Take a shower. Not die.

Rocket Fantastic by Gabrielle CalvocoressiSOURCE

This poem appeared in The New Yorker, published in the print edition of the November 19, 2018 issue. Shared here with deep gratitude. Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, Apocalyptic Swing, and Rocket Fantastic.


“Like nothing before it, in Rocket Fantastic explores the landscape and language of the body in interconnected poems that entwine a fabular past with an iridescent future by blurring, with disarming vulnerability, the real and the imaginary. Sorcerous, jazz-tinged, erotic, and wide-eyed, this is a pioneering work by a space-age balladeer.

“A dance of self-discovery, subverting our assumptions of gender and the body…Both innovative and sensual, Rocket Fantastic is a vital book for our time.”―Diana Whitney, San Francisco Chronicle


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Comments (1)

  • P

    I’m so grateful you’re here, T. Reading this post side by side with the other Gabrielle Calvocoressi post on your site brings some comfort that there is joy and purpose to find in others. I hope you know how loved you are by so many of us!


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