Christian Anton Gerard
Let's call it art when I say I'd have sawed off my arm
this evening so I wouldn't have had to move my son
snoring like a lumberjack (which I've wanted to be
since I read Sometimes a Great Notion).
Let's say it's the kind of thing an old man says of his son
because Americans are so masculine aware, but
any man worth his sweat knows the saw
would wake the son, knows he's got a choice:
Hold the boy while you may or tend what needs tending.
It's each day's worst choice. It's also not a choice,
but a question of need. A man's heart's tended by holding.
That was an artsy riddle because you're Ryan Adams and
you've got the sweetest guitar I've ever seen.
But seriously. Let's play a game. How 'bout
we free associate metaphors. I'll start with a list,
you guess what it's about: Red peony. Red apple. Red voice.
Red and green eyes. Sugar. Shotgun. Red
obvious. Red oblivious. Red breath. Red well read.
I can't keep it out of my poems like you can't
keep it out of your songs: That thing in our veins,
weird happy in heartbreak and its counterpoint
unabashed like a beautiful Caliban in love.
No. Not a beautiful Caliban. I wouldn't wish Caliban on anyone.
Hell no. Apologies. I tried that allusion thing I like, but it didn't work.
Forget it. We can be straight up. We both love to hold and be held.
When I said it I meant what you and I'd crawl over coals for
if we could find it all in one person. Need's answer.
She has a name. I will tell you over dinner.
About Christian Anton Gerard
Note: "Christian Anton Gerard to Ryan Adams via Caliban" appears in Holdfast (C&R Press)
Christian Anton Gerard's first book of poems is Wilmot Here, Collect For Stella (WordTech, CW Books imprint, 2014). He has received Pushcart Prize nominations, scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and an Academy of American Poets Prize. Some of his recent poems appear or are forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Post Road, Diode, Pank, Orion, Smartish Pace, Thrush, The Rumpus, and The Journal.
He holds a Ph.D in English from the University of Tennessee and he currently lives in Fort Smith, AR, where he's an Assistant Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Writing at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.