My Boyfriend, John Keats
Two Poems

My Boyfriend, John Keats

We walk hand in hand through the museum
We are at the Met in September
So you’re emotional, we stroll
Carelessly through the hall of antiquities
You whisper to the statuettes
“Fill all fruit to ripeness”
They won’t answer you, darling
I pull you close and glare at the gallery guard
Hush, John, calm yourself and focus
I am your sylvan historian
I am your bride of quietness
We will make a foster child of silence
Here? you ask, English and polite
Yes, here by the Terracotta Bucket
Later, we are back in my bedroom
Enough, Keats, with the formal foreplay!
You cry that you’re still in love with Fanny
Do not say that name, I cannot bear being haunted
By Miss Brawne in her hand-sewn outfits
My love, let me remind you
I have The Beatles, Nina Simone, The Goldberg Variations
You may waste mellow hours with headphones on
And I will send you pics of me naked
Your dark eyes will be riveted to artifice
Fanny doesn’t have what you need
Fanny doesn’t have antibiotics
Fanny doesn’t tweet to the skies
Fanny wears a bonnet
Keats, what are you doing
Sitting in a moss’d tree—having thoughts?
Are you inventing immortal lines?
It’s time for lunch, it’s sushi takeout
Do not sink in a heap, John Keats
You are tubercular and five-foot-one
Here is your new fleece jacket
Here is a bowl of hot oatmeal
And a cup of PG Tips with milk
Sit here by the leaf-fringed window
And wrap yourself in this scarf
I bought it on Etsy, I’m not Fanny
Let me run you a bubble bath
I love you, small KeatsWake up, John, it’s a bad dream
There’s no mad pursuit, no cows led to slaughter
Your dryad’s right here, shopping online
For organic flannel sheets to keep you cozy
I’ll be your nightingale in the darkling night
I’ll read you Homer till you fall asleep
Put your laden head on my shoulder
Bold Lover, that’s you!
Haunt about this shape, Keats
Tease me out of thought
I will not fade, I will have your bliss
Forever wilt thou love, and I am fair
Fanny won’t tie you up, I can
Fanny can’t make your poems go viral, I can
I can drive you straight to the ER
To save you & Romantic Poetry forever
You know that guy who kept your inheritance?
I stabbed him through the heart with a pencil
The critics who said you were working class?
Dead—quills through their eyeballs
And Wordsworth, who condescended to you?
Choked by my own bare hands
It was easy, I hate Wordsworth
They won’t bother you again, go ahead
Continue working on your odes
Honey, I summoned your beloved mother
I brought back your brothers from the dead
How? With my love powers
To resurrect you through space and time
Don’t try to climb out the window
Please pay attention, John Keats
Now let me cure you
We don’t want you to die at twenty-five
We love you and your sad poetry!
I have first-class tickets to Rome
We will visit the Vatican and eat gelato
We will kiss in an outdoor café
The warm days will never cease
My love, we will not visit your grave

Camille Guthrie’s new book Diamonds is forthcoming from BOA Editions in fall 2021. She is the author of three books of poetry: Articulated Lair: Poems for Louise Bourgeois (2013), In Captivity (2006), and The Master Thief (2000), all published by Subpress. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Boston Review, Interim, The Iowa Review, The New Republic, Tin House, as well as in several anthologies including Best American Poetry 2019 & 2020 (Scribner). The Director of the Undergraduate Writing Initiatives at Bennington College, she lives in rural Vermont.

You can read more of her poems here.


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