“Aaron Carter You Are Dead and Never Read the Book I Wrote About You” by Wheeler Light

Wheeler Light


Once I loved you. Seven
and what did I know about sex?
I howled at your laserdisc moon,
found a boy with frosted tips
and kissed the fantasy of you
for all of second grade.
I didn’t grow up to be gay,
a disappointment to only the poems
I write about you.
The boy with your hair grew up
to be an alcoholic,
I grew up to get sober at 22,
and you grew up to be dead.
Aaron Carter, I don’t know where
they will hold your funeral
but tonight I am wearing black
wandering Greenwich Village
wanting to hear “I Want Candy”
behind the ambient curtains of jazz.
I want every basketball court to cut
the net down. I want Shaq to take
a knee and still be taller than me.
I want Leslie to whisper your name
and find you. Tonight, I pray to your pop
and the world is a bisexual opera
harmonizing cock. Tonight, I worry
about Nick, every anxious addict knows
what it is to mourn a stranger they loved.
Tonight, I want candy. Say lick.
Tonight, I want high spirits, say lift.
Tonight, I want your memory to say live.
Your fruity-loop ambitions, slender wrists.
The first CD I ever owned, the poster
on the inside of my closet door. My first show.
Oh Aaron Carter, patron ghost, a bright warning.
Popstar shooting across the past’s sky waning.
Tonight I place a wish on you, a kiss
on the shiny moon. Rewind the track.
The car is in the driveway.
Clean up the house.
The party is over.
You are coming home.

from Poets Respond
November 13, 2022


Wheeler Light: “Aaron Carter died last week, which is tragic. Aaron Carter was a musician, addict, and my first celebrity crush. When I was a child, his music opened up a world of love to me and began my personal exploration/discovery. His story is a story of exploitation and neglect, but his effect was a ubiquitous joy that befell many millennials. I wrote a chapbook about him called I Want Candy, which was accepted for publication by two presses, but I pulled the chapbook both times, because I didn’t feel comfortable with anyone having access to it. This poem is elegy, a follow-up, a tabloid about a musician’s work the world was lucky to have.” (web)

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