These two poems by LC Gutierrez follow the writer’s interest in the themes of time and place. From a series of poems titled with the names of the months, readers are invited to look through the abstract lens of “September.” Whereas “End of the 80s” offers a concrete and personal memory of pre-Katrina New Orleans…
by: LC Gutierrez
The End of the 80s The 80s were a razored mirror and everyone got nicked. A fuck fest and a blood fest on a collision course, tied and divided by a wall of crack cocaine, a thin septum separating the city. Treacherous levees coddled the river that lusted for Pontchartrain Lake, biding its time. A“coke whore,” who was once someone’s daughter, waved down my VW van and said she’d blow me for a 20. There was no romance in daylight then, zits showing through her thin-worn nighty. It was this way, even before that cop locked the pizza kitchen so the Asian workers could be executed for the cash drawer. Before Eduardo and I visited that house on St. Charles Avenue that smelled of sperm and cheap sunscreen, where young men lounged like poisoned lizards sunning on the patio in their desperation, having found paradise emptied, wracked out by the AIDs that had tattooed bits of its hedon shaped shrapnel on all of their gigolo hearts. Before a 16 year old boy offered me death by 9 millimeters and I gave him my wallet. And God was present, my witness that I would have killed him right then and there, his angels notwithstanding, in a pool of fallen leaves that made no sense. She said she was going wherever I would take her so I let her in my van, while I thought she might be beautiful in another world, her teeth and hair of lost light and color. I understood her name had run away with the rest of her. I was every bit as hungry as the other crippled wolves, but don’t remember if I didn’t have a 20 or just didn’t have the stomach for it.
September does grow voluptuous in silence, her scars the moon’s marks. A righteous greening stills around her and dies away in others as colors. She’ll gift equal parts of day and night in stradling gratitude, tamping down the tumescence of a summer in embers. The leaves bloody up, not quite ready to fall. While she chills and calls stillness to our limbs, we play at sprinting, but lope nonetheless. She hears an echoed dog bark through chain link. Her profile startles the wind and it cools, rustles college-ruled paper. It says her name, a synonym for memory that wishes it were presence. The image of her undressed, in final flourish, outwaits a readiness to adjust your tie, mistaken for a noose. Eager to take you with her and hold you to the pagan dusk.
LC Gutierrez is a product of many places in the South and the Caribbean, as well as writing and comparative literature programs at Louisiana State and Tulane University. He now writes, teaches and plays trombone in Madrid, Spain. His work is recently published in Autofocus, Notre Dame Review, Sweet, Hobart, Trampoline Journal and Hole in the Head Review.