January 1, 2021

The Saturn Sermon

By James Loop


could it it could could it it could could it it could 
go on forever this way that’s not 
true it could go on forever this way 

even if which it shouldn’t it should 
not cling 
film a voice gets all over 
itself its offered embrace it offers its 
spleen and embrace 

that the year may never begin. that the year, a body both 
master and pet, a year, 
the body-mastery, a pet name, 
project intended and intended. 

oh my garden! 
I played a trick on you 
told you you should grow that you were asked for that you asked for 

dedicatory epistle: dear 
you, it’s I, your 
dreadfulest, dear 
friends you’ll find my face 

even if I 
should have to remove it leave it 
streaming at your feet, even 
if I should rub it against your eyes 

could it it could could it it could 
be yours


my my my 

when I fell I fell 
for your latex syntax and tax proposal 

you were a sugar 

you were             like you could 
                            like you could 

value nothing nor value 

a cock like          a sugar 
a cock like          a spade 

dig it                  yes daddy 



I was you said 
of very little use and small powers, 
arcing deflected surf-light. I touched nothing. 


            desire: a corpse in the drain,  
            beyond blame, discoloring rain. 

The drag of history felt as guilt as debt gelds flight. 
A gilded doubt is history as debt is guilt and a drag. 
Historically doubt as a dab of gall is a gilded dildo, 
As history is guilt and the gall all of it.


Picture the moments before you wake. Tunnels cramped and drawn, corrected bones, the battery light of expectation. 

One theory of pain is it’s obvious, obviates theory, as in you’re in it or you’re not. Imagine a pain. 

Wake in imagined pain, in imagery: damp light, centimeters of birds dredging blues. What's a reason to move? Pain is, if moving might remove it. It may, you do, maybe.  

How well do you care for yourself? If you were a dog, how would you judge the master which is you? Poorly I am afraid.

Imagine eating. Imagine being eaten: that the matter with you be converted into energy, into continuing life. That is the theory, the hope of being eaten. That much is obvious.

Seeing scar tissue you guess at the wound.


A word is a wound on time. Grief, a pleat. It eats 
light abdicates and festers: the poem. I tell you: 

            The birch burst like wheel spokes 
             through a snowed-in closeness. 

Impossibility sees I am like this 
to you that I would like to be like this 

to you  

Under you now I am leaden and heavy 
and everyone wants my money. My money 
is not enough money. What little there is 
I spend unwisely. I a debtor

am and walk with a debtor’s signature 
gait, extending his guaranteed hand: 
Prussian blue PVCA. I make silence 
in my free time of varied density and weight
though to write also is faulty accounting. 
We’re mortgaged by words 
which extend themselves not 
in a gesture of faith, but because they know 

in heaven all bills get paid. Someone would eat 
your pain I say though I say neither I nor pay. 
The year the body never began I told you 
forever it could go on this way. 


In conclusion it’s not my job 
to make anyone feel 
worse about things. 

Everyone has their own portion 
of fear and grief to tend without 
being dumped on by me. 

It may be you are a person 
to whom the wealth of life 
is obvious, a person 

who appreciates. It may be 
you say I trust I will have 
had been such. 


Under you the ledger shut
            and let me not evade you 

Under you the sugar stirs my hand

             and let me not by grace evade you 

Under you the streets continue 

             and let me not by grace alone continue to evade you 

Under you the reengineered eye of 

            let me not evade 

Under you staying watered collecting waste in small bags

             Seconds before we emerge from the tunnel, a man to my right crosses         
             himself.  We are vaulted suddenly onto a bridge, the skyline extending  
             like a tape measure from its casing. I study first the northbound view and 
             then the south, wondering which if either has the future hid in it.    
Under you—could it—Yours,—could it—and saying not one word of my love

James Loop is a poet living in New York City. His work has appeared in Brooklyn Rail, Lambda Literary, Prelude, and elsewhere.