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Last of the Late Great Gorilla-Suit Actors

This installment of the PEN Poetry Series, selected by Ben Mirov, features a poem by Patricia Lockwood, whose latest book, Balloon Pop Outlaw Black, will be released by Octopus Books on October 15.

 

Last of the Late Great Gorilla-Suit Actors


Is the last man alive on this earth. He has the cities

to himself, and even has the blondes, who are over

his shoulders not kicking or screaming. He carries

them wherever he carries the gorilla. “I can see straight

through and past your mask,” the gorilla-suit actor

tells himself. “I can see your eyes twinkle way up

with the stars. Between two skyscrapers I can see them.

By the end the audience will recognize you. By the end

they will see you as one of them, by the end they will see

      their faces in your face,”

and the audience feels themselves lifted up too,

and the audience leaves one by one. “Where is the movie,

where is my movie?” the gorilla cries in despair. He beats

his bass chest, there is only silence. He opens his mouth

and makes the loud frightened music the score makes

when we first see him. He is taller than even he remembers.

Comets streak through and through his head. All the blondes

are thrown over his shoulders, the blondes he never even

liked, the bunches of blondes he mistook for bananas. What

he likes is the Chrysler Building, all nipped and shirred

at the waist. What he likes is the cool copper Statue of Liberty.

What he likes, getting bigger, is that high-heeled continent.

What he likes, he thinks, sweat dripping sky to the ground,

is the great gorilla-suit itself and its long great line of inhabitants.

The late great is alone, is alone on the earth. The sun approaches

hotter than hot, the last and screamingest of the blondes.

The last of the great is as big as deep space, the last of the late

is as big as the night, he reaches out and grabs the sun, he is

stuffed with the stars of gorilla-suit acting, all gorilla-suit

actors are moving his arms, all gorilla-suit actors are moving

his legs, and we make the sad music the score makes

when the gorilla is shot full of holes, and “Remember me!”

we cry to no one at large, and burst out of the suit at last

to breathe, last of the late great gorilla-suit actions.

 

Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. Subscribe to the Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your e-mail as soon as they are published (no spam, no news, just poems). We hope you like the pieces we find as much as we do, and pass them on.

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