Clean Offering: Poetry by Brian Sonia-Wallace

The world is on fire and I have something 
to sell. I’d like to sell you the world. 
It’s on fire. It is.

But you should buy it — 
not because it’s safe, 
but because the economy

(that’s the end of that sentence.
Because the economy.)
_____________________

Have you been economical with your words?
With your worries? Have your worries 
been eco-centric or ego-centric? 

I would like to sell you an ego.
No — a biome. Take a look around. Lots to see.
Let me know if you have any questions.

Let me know if your questions have teeth.
Let me know if your teeth are chattering.
Or, if you do not have teeth, if you’d like some! 

Actually — I’d like your teeth.
What would you like in exchange?
I only have the world. I don’t carry exact change. 

I carry inexact change. I carry messes 
going back generations, gentlemen 
callers with questions — 

They check the teeth to make sure 
the horse is healthy. You can tell a lot about a horse 
from its teeth. How old it is. If it’s broken to the bit.

Some horses have wolf teeth. Some are wind 
suckers or crib biters. Check — does the horse 
have ash in its mouth? Can it afford next month’s rent?

The horse is sitting on a stack of photos.
It hasn’t made the bed 
that broke its back. 

The horse’s mouth is a bed 
for breaking. Hearts. Records. Bread.
Hooves no good with dirty dishes,

grimed through the open window
by the whole world burning outside.
Didn’t you close the window last night? No matter. 

Throw it open now. Lasso the morning.
Breathe the smoke. Wash your flank clean.
I want to sell you a world on fire.

Call this, love. 
Love, the ash 
you carry in your 

mouth. A bed 
for everything 
that’s broken.
Brian Sonia-Wallace

Brian Sonia-Wallace is an intimacy worker who creates collaborative public poetry about hopes, fears, memories, and dreams, mediated by the technology of the typewriter. He is the West Hollywood City Poet Laureate, a 2021-22 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, and the author of The Poetry of Strangers: What I Learned Traveling America with a Typewriter. He runs a queer open mic in a trashy gay club and just lost his housing for the fourth time.

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