Dear Ra

By Johannes Göransson Johannes Goransson

Dear Ra,

There are no more cigarettes in this letter. It's all about spray-paint and traffic jams from here on out. Honk if you're epileptic, honk if it's 2:40 p.m., if you love shells. Honk in the name of freedom and fear of the human body. When I say "human body" I mean the kind that tears like lettuce. And when I say "fear" I mean the kind you feel seconds before crashing into a wall. That's the kind of poem this is. The kind raised on excess television violence.

All that's left are ads for brotherhood and blowjobs. An ad for 2:42 p.m. A wad of hair. This isn't Marx. I'm not trying to bite the hand that feeds me sour candy. Run down the deer. Rain. Wear a red jacket and pumps. Pave the road back from my bed. I don't own a bed, it must've been the trap I've crept in and out of since I learned how to sleep alone. The Count of Monte Cristo's funeral. God's earlobe. An army of lamb can stop a film but not the violence of handbags. Not 2:43 p.m. Two forty-four pee em. Speak from a babble and a switch. Piss in a telephone booth. Grow a tree. Kidnap a car thief. Talk to him as though you want to be slammed in his trunk like a bag full of rocks.

Talk to me in the woods. To my chest. With your fingers.

Even if you kick in the gates, nyc is still nyc. My concussion is still a hotel. The guests are staying lukewarm and I'm picking up the tab. Ask me if I have ever wanted to tear out cables, burn up cradles. Interview my architects about hands. Ask an illegal immigrant how to escape from a political cliche. Does one use hammers? What about the moist area? The brutal caress? The spindle? Where does one learn to speak such a broken language? Are you jealous of films about Vietnam?

This poem is dedicated to Jean-Luc Godard. This poem is dedicated to the man who put a gun in my gullet. This poem is a pay-phone.

Someone has slashed its chords and ripped out its face. This drink is mixed with a plastic fork. This is an invitation to my Halloween party. Come as a key. Come as a metatextuai tear in the metatextual fabric.

Listen to my concert through walls that were built to keep the vermin out of my armpits. Shovel. That's all I ask in return for my sonata on gravel. I mean gravel in a dialectic sense. As in, tomorrow dirt will be glamorous. Asphalt will be categorized as a sound. You will be categorized as an outdated method of psychotherapy. Like confession. Or the couch. Or the chair. I will be classified as a sore loser. Last year's winner must have thrown something hard at my head. Something that shattered like a waltz in a bomb raid. It's almost three o'clock. That makes it exactly several thousand miles since I left your town. I left your mice. I left a confusing note for the exterminators.

I've been confused when I should have been
reborn as a crusade or a hospital of innocents.
I've been bored when I should've been screwed.
I've been a hungry year.

Johannes Goransson, "Dear Ra" from Dear Ra (a story in flinches). Copyright © 2008 by Johannes Goransson.  Reprinted by permission of Starcherone Books.

Source: Dear Ra (a story in flinches) (Starcherone Books, 2008)

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Poet Johannes Göransson

Subjects Mythology & Folklore, Horror

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

Biography

Poet and translator Johannes Göransson emigrated with his family from Skåne, Sweden to the United States at age 13. He earned a BA from the University of Minnesota, an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his PhD from the University of Georgia. He is the author of several books, including Haute Surveillance (2013), Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate (2011), and Dear Ra (A Story in Flinches) . . .

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Poems by Johannes Göransson

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Mythology & Folklore, Horror

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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