erotic city

Prince said There’s a dark side to everything.


            Pain, for instance, and the past. The inaccessibility

            of desire, or its specificity. And what is desire

            but a noisy machine inside the torso,

            the gut. I can’t look

            at what I want.

Prince said There are only so many notes one human being can master.

            It gnaws at me. I circle rooms of the silent house turning

            it over in my mind, or somewhere darker, ashamed

            I can’t name the needs I deny I have.

Prince said Repetition is beautiful.


            No one says I want to be hollowed out completely

            and burned like a husk to dust. No one

            says: my eyes, take them from me

            and wear them over yours. My desire—take

            my hands and saw them off, remove from me

            every part that is of use.


            Inside me, a ruby-throated bird

            is eating at the edges of my heart.

            Its hunger for sweetness swallows

            everything I have destroyed.


Prince said Yeah, everything is beautiful.

Chelsea Bunn is the author of the chapbook Forgiveness (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming). She received an MFA in Poetry from Hunter College, and her work appears in Maudlin House, Sky Island Journal, Apathy Magazine, Cover, Georgetown Review. A two-time Academy of American Poets Prize winner, she serves as Assistant Professor of Creative Writing for Navajo Technical University.

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