17, Biting Down

By Eden Arielle Gordon

“Untited” © Sarah Kranz (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahkranz/9597066438/)

“Untited” © Sarah Kranz (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahkranz/9597066438/)

17

Maybe the jazz age happens to us all when we’re seventeen,
maybe it’s sewn into our bloodstreams.

Having seen blood flowing from sunken submarines
and because we had an arsenal of power in our young heads,
we went bravely into the trenches of our youths.

And afterwards,
we hobble home,
fingers and toes buried in the soil of a torn-up continent.

We write burning words and dress in gold and shoot champagne
and there are parties under neon fires
where rhododendrons bloom
and we bathe in cashmere perfume
and white sunshine.

These are the tender nights of our youth, the nostalgic years we will observe
from behind fogged lenses as we descend into other, further wars, in jungles and deserts
and these are the nights we will cling to when we can hardly recall

the sweetness of distant melodies.

Biting Down

I.
We never learn. When Eve swallowed the apple perhaps she just wanted
to taste its sweetness. I swallow you up like a poison apple. When you love
me I shine, and sink. When you leave me I am barren. The garden rises

and swallows me like a fruit. Reciprocal equation. We never learn. I never learn
to stop devouring every little bite of your skin that you give me. I find myself hungry
constantly, craving sugar. This old city is a cavern. I miss the leaves. I chose

to follow you to these cracked grey streets. It is eat, or be eaten
these days, in the acid rain. It is sin, or live in the belly of sinners. Is this
the end of innocence? Is this love? Or is this some other tragedy

some age-old tale repeated again and again? Inevitably we sink.
I feel sorry for the snake, fallen from heaven, but mustn’t we all fall?
Wasn’t the snake the most human of them all?

II.
Like the snake I am a capitalist, a product
of this America. I am a product of plastic Easter eggs
hurled across wet grass fields, children running in pursuit,
Santa Claus squeezing through chimneys. I am a product of this America and I am hungry.

I dream of the big city. I dream of Los Angeles. I am a product of
this America. I am hungry. I will take what I can get from you. I will take
the curvature of your lips. I will take the poison on your tongue and the

knowledge you give me. Knowledge of the ephemerality and transience
of myself, of the unloveable darkness in my soul. God, there is so much hollowness
inside me and I want to swallow you and fill it up. It is swallow or be swallowed.


EdenGordonEden Arielle Gordon lives in New York City. Her work has been published in the Claremont Review, Polyphony H.S., and Navigating the Maze, and she has also been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. She also recently participated in workshops with the Adroit Journal and Winter Tangerine Review. She is also a singer-songwriter under the alias “Eden Ariel,” and can frequently be found staring at the sky, meditating on the changing seasons, or wandering around in the woods.

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