Tagged: the Dead

Worm-Like

once I let the machines
repair my body
they power washed my stomach
drilled relief
into my tail
one guy spent the entire time
in my jaw, just scraping
they must have missed some
anxiety, I guess – what I
described to my parents as
a knife above my chest
not stabbing, just hovering there
I’ve got it down to my tummy
I’m trying to push it out
I’ve ejected my appendix
anxiety – what I describe now
as a strange fungus
aboard a ship
oh to cut it loose
watch it drift into the cold
never to return
never to wonder if you love me
to devalue your love so
never to make things wrong
because it’s easier
because I know these things by
prescription, or strand
because I blame them
or make them disappear to
appear changed
it’s still here
it’s in the room with us now
one day I will loose my hair
my eyesight
my home planet
one day there will be a voice
the one who keeps anxiety
at all costs
from reaching my hands
the poles
dowels in every pore
tie the rope you tie
around my wrists
nothing can escape when we go

Playing Dead

for a possum to play dead effectively
it can’t look too good
evolutionary priority is given
to the ugly – the mottled fur
the hairless face like carrion
the chitinous tail, the smell

if a possum chooses another
she will do so for its longevity
its eligibility based on ugliness
therefore beauty
the young are carried on the stomach

tight against fat hanging
towards the ground, dragging
through ticks and the litter
disgusting, undesirable
reliable

no one comes for the possum
not the hungry, nor the thirsty
the possum does not pretend
to be alive – it is therefore safe
it is ready to drop dead
at any moment

a long, upturned smile
the secret – to live precisely
when you must

Nebulizer

my breath comes running up, alarmed
holding bags

my breath is sinched at the waist
my breath

is afraid to put it all the way in
my breath is unsure of the door

it rolls up a towel to
block the light

it knows footprints by weight
my breath escapes through

the window, and though it lives in me
it looks like a robber

feels like a robber, like
it has something of mine in its pockets

in this way my breath cares about
what others think

other’s thoughts hurt. other’s
thoughts can be controlled

my breath controls them
oxygen – a bundle of stones in the arms

of my breathing, a breathy voice, a
circulatory mind

my breathing is pot without
a drain hole

my breathing is root rot
my breath continues, though I

miss a few here and there
they fly over my head or

over my shoulder. it is a joke, or
salt, my breath, which today

feels like someone else’s. it is not enough
or maybe, it is too much my own

Fear of Dying

I beg the stars to move –
that is, to have died already
I’m still uncertain of their distance
now more than ever

what would happen if I ate one?
would it kill me? if I sleep
facing the sky, will it breathe me?
if I get bit, will I die?

I am unsure about so much
what does a virus want?
which is the universe
and which is the galaxy?

is it cicadas? or static on
spirit headlamps? or
Denis Johnson’s feverish
kazoo music?

could be just a bug
am I doing the right thing?
where do I place
the needs that could kill me?

Missy

Our girl hears Missy Elliot
on the radio, 95.9 – The Throwbacks
She knows all the words the way
you don’t really, just play the sounds
so when she enunciates GO DOWNTOWN
EAT IT LIKE A VULT-CHA we laugh
She knows that part, of course, but
then again she does know vultures
She jumps off the couch and soars
like a vulture. She dries her hair over
her face like a vulture does its wings
She puts her hands up against the light
– a shadow puppet vulture
She is black and furthest away
She sees vultures and takes binoculars
but can’t find them
The light is too bright

After Choking You in My Sleep

the dead must be hungry
the way they present themselves
to me – half a hand out
hollow legs

shrinking then wrapping
the corners as if embarrassed
I would be too

all that work to be dead
and still begging
not that I’m any safer here

stairs are one of the most
haunted places on Earth. I
could be sitting in a portal, or in the body

of something larger
someone’s work or unrequited love
a prison, the defense
of a choke-point

whatever it is, I feel its interest
it shakes my insides as if
listening for seed

it lands on me when
I’m not careful
forms to vacancies like
an owl to the tree

like your voice to my ear
when I’m sure you’re lying
or is it, when I’m sure
I would have lied

is it me? I am poltergeist
through misplaced energy
through dreams of fame turned
malevolent humility

inside lurks
the big black mass
of ever losing you, especially
to me

Activity

I am writing again, which
feels like the wrong thing
behind me
there are thousands of figures

symbols for lost time
like a chair is not its word
“chair” a person
is not his name

nor is he what he leaves
behind
he is not named
“gunk in corners”

though he resides there
with no need for sitting, writing
now he sinks
where chairs were

leaving behind residue
like ink
on the paper
at night

Thirty

I was standing in line with you
when I passed out, fainted
I guess, and woke up
on the floor

I remember feeling
guilty, like I had overslept
and how different
you looked

appearing over me, like
a god, or its mother
perfect
and impatient

my elbow hurts – I realize
I must have fallen on it
you say I may have fallen forward
if it hadn’t been for you

how lucky – I am grateful
– I am weak – I am
let down gently – I am
long to see

the security footage
in which your reaction
plays out like a silent film
in which

the faces of the embarassed
become everyone, black
and white, at each moment
assigned a time

SWAT

woke up drenched again, not
dreams, not raining
who knows

there’s a resiny
imprint of me
on my mattress, laid over
countless others
like days

I go through what I ate, when
the withdrawal symptoms of
things like caffeine
pot, what I’m wearing
sleep positions, if
I should shower before I sleep

maybe my mattress is a valley
my blankets roads
I overheat, sweat
become cold, pull them up

to wake unsure
where the water came from
if it’s water at all, or
just salt

if while sleeping, I’ve
been swimming, and
barely made it back to shore

Coleoptera

      Entomologists estimate there are nearly
1.5 million different types of beetles
if you double the weight of all beetles
the world would cave in on itself
I love this nature fact – partly because
it sounds so made up, and partly
because I believe it must be true

      Cleopatra wore lipstick made
of crushed ants and beetles
David crushed Goliath with a stone
Since then, the weight of humans
has doubled many times over
we are gathered around a large hole
each awaiting our turn to see

      My parents have just called a meeting
to say just cremate me, no need for all
the fuss, unless it feels important to you
that you have a place to visit
Do we get a hole to see down? 
a box in vain denying the earth
thousands of beetles crowded around
the stags, the rhinocerii, the oxen
Now that would be interesting! No
mom says, and please,
just pour us out anywhere