Literature 6-5-2006

What Light: This Week’s Poem: John Vick

John Vick is the tenth poet chosen in this once-a-week yearlong survey of Minnesota’s poets and their work. The series is sponsored by Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

John Vick

Sunset Boulevard

There is no Norma Desmond in this movie.
No naïve reporter skimming the rich life,
an exchange of company for sponsorship.
This is a condom-strewn motel on the strip.

The runaway boy has fake IDs.

The man drives an SUV that he’s hidden

at a mall parking lot. There is no pimp involved,

just a stop on the street, a non-specific agreement, credulity.

There is a cigarette offered by the man,
a joint recently procured by the boy.
There is the boy’s slick loitering a block from the motel,
his sniffy pose while the room is identified,

a discrete rendezvous a few minutes later.
The scene where the man sits on the bed
and takes a swig of whiskey from a pint bottle
involves demands that the boy shower first,

the beginning of slams on the youth’s
manner and trade, renegotiations of the deal.
Agreements as to specific acts are left vague,
the man unwilling to commit himself

to the idea of being there as he prepares
to do things ulterior, when he might better

be conducting the business of his excuse
for missing that night’s family dinner.

But business has called him, libidity
rules him, nullifies his denial, and he loosens
his belt as the boy steps from the shower.
The sex scene has little detail. It is rote

until the end, when the man exhales
in a shudder of climax. It concludes
with a pillowcase twisted tight, a gurgling
throttle, and two feet fleeing the room.

There is no end to this movie; it plays
as an infinite loop. The monotony of acts melding
with nonchalance, the boy and man in changed
faces, rooms – mendacity themed acts, or scriptwriting.

John Vick has been published in numerous journals including Laura Hird, The Hiss Quarterly, and Neiderngasse. John also placed third in the December 2005 Interboard Poetry Competition. Currently, he is a co-administrator of an online poetry workshop and an editorial assistant for the online literary magazine Lily. John works at the University of Minnesota and studies poetry through the Split Rock Writing Program. He lives in Minneapolis.