R & R

By Brian Turner Brian Turner
The curve of her hip where I’d lay my head,
that’s what I’m thinking of now, her fingers
gone slow through my hair on a blue day
ten thousand miles off in the future somewhere,
where the beer is so cold it sweats in your hand,
cool as her kissing you with crushed ice,
her tongue wet with blackberry and melon.
 
That’s what I’m thinking of now.
Because I’m all out of adrenaline,
all out of smoking incendiaries.
 
Somewhere deep in the landscape of the brain,
under the skull’s blue curving dome—
that’s where I am now, swaying
in a hammock by the water’s edge
as soldiers laugh and play volleyball
just down the beach, while others tan
and talk with the nurses who bring pills
to help them sleep. And if this is crazy,
then let this be my sanatorium,
let the doctors walk among us here
marking their charts as they will.
 
I have a lover with hair that falls
like autumn leaves on my skin.
Water that rolls in smooth and cool
as anesthesia. Birds that carry
all my bullets into the barrel of the sun.

Brian Turner, “R & R” from Here, Bullet. Copyright © 2005 by Brian Turner. Reprinted by permission of Alice James Books.

Source: Here Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005)

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Poet Brian Turner

Subjects Living, The Body, Relationships, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict, Love, Desire

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Brian  Turner

Biography

Brian Turner earned an MFA from the University of Oregon and lived abroad in South Korea for a year before serving for seven years in the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1999-2000 with the 10th Mountain Division. Then in November 2003 he was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. His first book, Here, Bullet, chronicles his time in Iraq.

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SUBJECT Living, The Body, Relationships, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, War & Conflict, Love, Desire

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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