2 November 2007 | Vol. 7, No. 3

Bad Mood

Bad mood and bad dog and bad luck like

my broken neck or heart or head

playing out so much bad weather

like kinked yarn unraveled by a bad

black cat, which summons luck again,

that diffident lover half-

naked in the dark. To her

I walked beneath one thousand ladders

over miles of bad road

ribboned with bad directions.

Which wasn't as bad

as I thought it would be.

My bad ear pressed to the powdery wall

behind which strangers

badly performed their bad sex,

their bored flesh

nothing like the paleness of tulips

in the heat of Alabama

or the severed second

in which our voices sunk

from the bad phones we carried with us.

Across that bad connection,

the bad things compelling us

to speak out, to end up, to say

even now my skin flecks away.

Like paint applied

badly, quickly to cover

some previous horror,

some bad end solved badly,

the evidence lost,

thrown out, awarded to the jury of dust.

But I said it wasn't so bad.

And it wasn't.

There were days when knives of noon light

sliced the sky apart like tangerines.

And there were hours

and words amounting to consolation

and entire towns

ripe with welcome,

surrendering their thousand mirrors,

their seven long years.

About the author:

Paul Guest is the author of The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World, winner of the 2002 New Issues Prize, and Notes for My Body Double, winner of the 2006 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. His chapbook, Exit Interview, is available from New Michigan Press. Visit his blog.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Paul Guest at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 7, No. 3, where "Bad Mood" ran on November 2, 2007. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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