Playing Games – Zoe Contros Kearl


In Another Room

“I sing her a song about us / I step on her hands / She tightens and I hit her” — Jenny Holzer

It is in vogue to believe
simple things are without worth.

There is splendor
in simplicity,
its ability to awe,
to make ache.

Self evidence is sexy.

When my hands are around your throat—

muscles strain,
your breath catches and I tighten my grip,
the room silent and serene

—you are more mine than ever,
you are more yours than ever.


Daytona 500

After a crash-packed final stage,
we shotgun a domestic beer.

It is loud and fast on screen,
the Great American Race.

Boys high on near-death—

green-eyed and slurring
through gears at 200 miles per hour,

danger both ancient and sexy,
the crowd longs for a crash,
prays for carnage

—fucked up the forever of fame.


Losing Game

In the tall grass now, in the dark,
sleeping in beautiful white sheets,
all our demons, all our better angels,
she said “I love you for who you are,”
drinking so much cold, clean water,
the borzois are running in the trees,
please tell me is this for keeps,
all of this midnight palmistry,
your voice is a great gift,
honeyed and tripping, God-like,
take me by the shirt,
the hydrangeas hate overhead lighting,
love violence for its own sake.