Three Poems – Eric Silver

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“Do You Think Joey Chestnut Has What It Takes To Be A Man?”
On July 4th, 2014, competitive hot dog eater Joey Chestnut proposed to his girlfriend 
and fellow competitive eater, Neslie Ricasa, and then took his eighth title in the Nathan’s 
Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island.

When your father told me
you would be better off marrying a pizza
because it could feed a family better than me,
I devoured his house room by room. 
	
First, the coffee table, cracked in half
and dunked in paint thinner to soften wood
like buns in tap water.
Next, the bed frame, pillows, comforter
billowing goose feathers in summer confetti.
The library and the books, 
the silverware and the plastic.

When I picked the bullet shells
from his hunting rifle out of my teeth,
I burped, "I am a destroyer by trade
and she will always be safe."

The average American eats 70 hot dogs in a year.
On our engagement, I devoured 61. This year of fuel compressed 
to one day, a meat diamond pressurizing in my gut.
I am not rich or a good man
but look what I can hold inside me
what I can consume in your name. 

You combustion engine. You grill of glowing coals. 
Warm me. Start the car. There are cherry bombs and sparklers 
stationed in my largest intestine.
I am fifty percent decoration, fifty percent meat.
You July fourth of a girl, 
from now on, every day is today. Decree me
a holiday, I will close all my banks.

This is why I proposed before the showdown,
the sausages waiting like Christians before the rapture,
I had no fear of vomiting down your special competition shirt, no.
Here is our holiest battleground.
We will consume out of occupation: on baked beans, peach cobbler,
cookie dough, a continuous barbecue.
But we will never devour each other.
This is marriage, sweet chili darling,
two unique meat grinders chattering through the dark,
teeth glinting in sauce and lightening bug heat.



A Litany of The Last Day of 2013

The prediction in the morning I vomit. The promise I won’t. 
The best friend who moved to Stamford. The friends who came in 
from Virginia and Chicago and far away Brooklyn. The way I cannot tell them
how much I have missed them. The train ride hauling groceries, 
like there’s no food in Connecticut. The volunteer to ride in the trunk – 
how I fit in the food the travel bags and me. The dinner at the ex-girlfriend’s. 
The way I’m cool with this because we are all lonely and she can cook for a crowd. 
The emergency whiskey in the freezer. How every whiskey is now an emergency. 
How I loosen like a poor bowtie knot. How free wine and no one is watching me 
tastes good with everything. The joke of jumping in the driver’s seat before the ride home. 
How that was always the point, making the joke 
before I can be one. The drink for a friend in flip cup in beer pong 
in hoping this year will pass alone while we remain a we. 
The girl like fire four time zones away so these texts are misplaced in her time. 
The girl like fire who left in December. The girl like fire who will burn
me again but I do not want to see this year off without 
the heat of mouth. The ex-girlfriend who knows me, the determined
drown and leads me outside. The steps comfortable and sturdy. The nothing 
else is sturdy. The “I just want this to be over” again and again 
and I do not recognize as my own. How this could be, and no one asks. 
The stain still in the hallway. The confirmation that I have fulfilled the prophecy.
How I gave them what they wanted. How this is what I wanted. 
The finale the only way I know how, doused in alcohol, burning in the process.



How to love in the ocean

Write the poem. Write the note. Write “It’s okay” repeatedly like tide lapping against sand. 
Stay awake. Swallow. Confuse your coast with hers. Never get completely clean.

When it’s over and she’s happier now, do not be surprised. It was never about comfort, 
but doing something as important as love while drowning.




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About Eric Silver

ERIC SILVER loves cardigans, big headphones, and being ten minutes early. He is the co-founder, former president, and four-time team member of Slam! at NYU, NYU's slam poetry team. He has upcoming work or has been published in The Legendary, Freezeray Press, Potluck, Write Bloody Publishing and more, as well as a self-published chapbook, Post-Awkward Expressionism. A high school English teacher, he wants to be somewhere between Robin Williams in Dead Poets' Society and KRS-One. View all posts by Eric Silver

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