2yrs 5mo


love means
sober up
or per-

or you
look in
the face

of your
and think
what the fuck

was I thinking
how did I
get myself
here or

I have no
love for you
or I have

like a fruit
and am now
too old

to fall
for that
same old
shit or

your teeth
hit the pit
and you spit
it out lustily

psst it’s my
and I feel
old and withered

like a pair
of ragged
claws scuttling
across the floors

of silent c’s
and wonder
is sovereignty

being un-
with whether
anyone thinks

of us whilst
next to barnacles
or is it

that another
blesses us
with drop-

lets of their
like blood
spatter from

a chicken
as the green
yard looks up
at blue sky?

I can’t deny
that I sizzle
here for want
of something

but I know
how bad
things can
get but I

don’t under-
stand how to
be both an
iguana and

a human
being that is
tethered to
pain by fan-

like gills
coursing with
sense and er-
oding or one

with the bar-
nanacled pylons
watching sea-
spray and rush-

ing current
or not so
invested in
the human or

not so knit
with fear or
not so sewn
with beads

of ideation
or is that
just the death
drive or

just a winding
down which I
don’t want
yet but can’t

find some re-
lease or as
they say in
the program

can’t live
life on life’s
terms what is
it to live

life on life’s
terms like
something out
of a Beckett

of a castaway
among iguanas
that are just

iguanas among
barnacles that
are just barnacles
not some sharp

chorus whistling
demonic ass-
how do we

live life on
life’s terms
amid the end-
less fuckery

and being
and feeling

how do we
walk through
the fire how
do we per-

severe while
remaining alive
how are we
supposed to

make it I
don’t fucking
get it even
as I’ve had

it relatively
good I think
it is impossible
they make their

world so hard
how are we
supposed to
keep fighting

and not de-
stroy ourselves
or others
or just die

how are we
going to make
it when satisfaction
is in such

short supply
when everything
is nothing and 
we feel dead?

Robert Fernandez is the author of the poetry collections We Are Pharaoh, Pink Reef, and Scarecrow. He is co-translator of Azure, a translation of the work of Stéphane Mallarmé. His poems have appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, Poetry, A Public Space, Transition, The Yale Review, and elsewhere.