Brandon Lewis

On Solitude

The subway doors spring and somehow 

they must help you organize the loneliness  
spilling—  the ice you bring  

that melts from boot-soles
and flows along the last inch left for a stranger

to forgo.    Whether or not 

a seat exists in this world and is yours,
or that the seat is an illusion

the loneliness is nevertheless being organized and you can’t tell 

your ass from another’s, or the epicenter of a shove—bodies down—dissipating, until

even the slim chances that loneliness may be transformed into solitude and logic into thought are obliterated.

By breathing here, I can’t help but ingest everyone. Feel our stares 

slapped by wet trench-coats, a Marianna Trench  

wreathed with flowers in disheveled locks...
above Orchomenus...
making the solitude of the hills echo to the wild music...infected by divine fury...

The salt and sand of winter, the pool of strangers’ melt-water  
and this pole full bacteria researches cannot identify 

—it does not explain your passage, or it does.  

Admit it is not just ahead
so must be made here,    a cadential point 

more than simply you at a toilet with a book
in place of the forest.    There is a chance 

a lonely man finds himself and starts the thinking dialouge of solitude

When my students looked at me, almost looking-through
as the state test surprised them with Walden 

—I could I say nothing but     talk to yourself, like a crazy person
and there was no wind or cooing or dappled light. 

Organize the loneliness or something will do it for you. 

Brandon Lewis

Brandon Lewis teaches in NYC, where he lives with his wife and babygirl. He received an MFA in poetry at George Mason, and his writing has appeared or is forthcoming in such places as The Missouri Review, The Massachusetts Review, Salamander, Spork, and apt. This year he was winner of the Sundog Lit Poetry Contest.