Tina Brown Celona

To write this poem I had to get drunk
and also high
because it was so scary
and I needed to take leave of my senses
a little and also I had some ice tea.

I am probably ignoring some red flags
as I’m being sucked into the black hole
of loving you. You taught me
about forms and bodies. To think
of these things

made me want to write poems.
And to write poems
was all that I wanted.


A form can be arbitrary
it is a frame on the thought
I wanted to watch all my favorite movies
again with him
and I wanted him

to read all my favorite books
so we would speak the same language
but mostly I wanted him
with my body when he entered me
all my muscles went limp

Recollecting it now in tranquility
Reflecting on it
in the afterlife


You know more about music than I do
which isn’t saying much if you know me
Do you know me by now
Do I know you
Impossible motels

Wash over us like the ocean
Arbitrarily occupying our beaches
Where in the dark we build
A fire no water could ever quench.
And at times the form makes the words

and at times the words simply fill
out the frame, you asked me why


the I in the poem was lowercase and I said”
and when I come home to a dream come true
I cry and think of naming a drink after you
or inventing one in your honor
because every memory is a sign of attention

and the moon is an element of the sky
and poetry is in the words and not the sense
making or rule-teaching
but in the seams like lint
from a life dedicated to beauty

I thought of the Brownings and how
we should read them


When we’re apart my feelings for you are terrible
Every detail haunts me
your teeth haunt me
the perfect line of them
I want you inside me I want you inside me

A feeling fierce and insistent
Metaphors from nature
imitate with varying degrees of success.
I want to send you radish seeds
Because you like them not because

I think you will plant them
but because it’s something I can do


And the words tumble out with the emotions
and the things that are most important to me
like a Mexican mirror
go unremarked on why do I resist people
and why can’t I write more like Baudelaire

and now that so many young poets
are writing about their lives should I stop
trying to make my
life more like a poem or even into a poem
(not shying away from the young men

and their conversation and
invincible teeth)


Because I’m making this for you
out of a tangle of mescal and concrete urns
outside a house filled with light
and memories insubstantial as fireflies
the unicorn in the corner

abandoned and beautiful like you asleep
dreaming of poems, feelings and beauty
Do you feel it or does the poem feel you
What the young people are looking for now
Is that what you do

If I show you my body
Can you show me your heart


The sound of a cat sipping water
is like a Basket drinking
I know you will know what this means
and everyone reading this will too
You said “I like you” that’s how I knew

And now I feel attached to you
Like a real person
A detailed real person like real people are
and my feelings for you are not
poetry but what is required to make it

if it is a love poem
we talked about them remember


Real people in poems
are seldom reliable, it’s obvious that poetry
isn’t real in the way that people are real,
and these emotions just happened
we didn’t ask for them

but poems are real in a way that endures
whereas life and feelings evaporate
like a dream on the wind
I am drunk when we go to the dog park
but happier than I have been all day

Fire is warmer than water
but water is necessary for life


I call him home, the poems were for you
You must send me a pic of your linen suit
I recommend Tender Is the Night
to you The Happiness Experiment
someone once told me my emotions

show on my face and you
are the most powerful pronoun
I melt into an idea
let there be no more rules
except the ones we invent for ourselves

steep angles and sticky gloves
for 88 hours we talked


of Paris and Cleveland, of Creeley,
Zukofsky, we found out what we knew
I liked you because you knew of rhythms
and bodies, you liked me because
I was sexy, and knew a lot of things.

What a world we live in, so broken, so old.
A world only accidentally with poetry.
Out of our rage we built a city.
A city like the ruins near Ostia
which I saw once, before I was married.

My feelings take me
Everyone knows them


Because for so long personality was suppressed
and emotions were wrapped in several layers of theory
Now everyone wants them
They’re like an irresistible milkshake
to a vegan don’t get me wrong I like vegans

like clean sheets and marigolds
bodies and sounds make a world
I give in a verse
what I’ve made in my heart
of daydreams planted by you

Here we are in a New England farmhouse
at Christmas time


Tina Brown Celona is completing a Ph.D. in poetry at the University of Denver. Her first book The Real Moon of Poetry and Other Poems won the Alberta (now the Motherwell) Prize and was published by Fence Books in 2002. A second collection, Snip Snip!, was published by Fence in 2006. Celona’s poems have recently appeared in Harp & Altar, Sink Review, Saltgrass, Action Yes, Octopus, and Colorado Review. She has degrees in literature and writing from the University of Iowa and Brown University and lives in Denver, CO.                                            New poems are forthcoming in Typo and Everyday Genius.

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