Tagged: the Dead

Jansport

If I had a clear backpack they
might see my Gameboy, or
whatever book I was reading
instead of the required

they might see how seldom
I used my folders, jamming
papers in like
forcing fire

if it rained it might look
like water on a window
on days when classmates with
clear umbrellas came equipped

with their own atmospheres
all docking here – I may
never have gone in
instead I’d lie to my mother

(I’d take the bus just
to spend all day
walking home)
or try lying to my father

(an interest in the coast guard)
he would have said
there are so few men
and so many fakes

they are easy to reproduce
and pass off
it’s taken me all my life
but here’s how you tell

The Music I Would Take to Space

I sing in the artist’s
voice – almost always
Rivers Cuomo is close
Billy Corgan hurts
Claudio Sanchez is like
I swallowed a laser
Cedric Bixler even higher
I can do Courtney Love
Shirley Manson – the
garbage version – but only
if my window is closed
I actually don’t know
where my singing voice
is – it’s gotta be in
my stomach, but
I keep my stress there
they fight their way out
– the Gemini twins
pulling at each other’s
loose skin, scrolling open
my throat like birch bark
the bugs are stars, but
they are themselves first
like all performers
I am understudy
I am making what I fake
but I have this window
one little window by which
life scrolls by – the
marquee – a coma
how exciting it is to
jump into a sentence before
knowing its ending
it’s got you talking
you can’t not finish
no way nothing’s there

The Most Humane Way Possible

I can see faces
in the trees again
their beards covering
their mouths         their eyes

the spaces of absence
where the grapevine
hasn’t quite
blanked me out of view

we’ve been through so much
they’re expecting a list
but I couldn’t         I can’t
I’m wondering about the farm

you adopted two hens
but must cull
five to six muscovies
the most humane way

is not the easiest
almost never
I wonder if
it’s a huge mistake

then remind myself
that we slept well together at
my parents’
we bought a car

we survived an abortion, an
assault, a freeze, a virus
all of which during
we wanted to pull so tight

like netting and a cone
and pass through         our
rib cages trying but failing
to catch us, breaking

the skin like pin feathers
I must provide life
that is what goes on the table
you must provide love

but I think mine goes first
I must work on balance
I picture cairns, but
not that         something

way more considerate
– mindful of
underwater bugs
maybe she’s here

and that’s why you can’t sleep
I would have loved
to have seen you pregnant
maybe it’s the house

it’s probably me
what’s the most humane
way possible
upside down into a bucket

but we slept so well at
my parents’         loved
so well in the trailer
had options

overcame those options
like mountain climbers
but on soft, little heads
we must attract

the type of good
you can’t feel good about
but it’s what we’d want
if we had the other

Scully

what part of now will be
preserved? The lights over
the river, hovering then taking off
the donkey under the tarp
the constant offering from cats
of mice, lizards, once a
painted bunting, once a snake while
I was masturbating
Once I saw the cat stalking
the ducks – when they see him
they stand up
he saunters off like this
was never his intention
my intention can be unruly
I broadcast in wide gestures
or none at all

Mulder

be careful with the moon
as it is not your ally

your coat beguiles formal
black with green, purple

you dance first
walk with your hips

seem to be most alive
when others can’t see you

so what are you now?
ghost alive

like a cat
overwhelmed enough to bite

then immediately regretful
embarassed, therefore

more likely to bite
it envenomates the feeling

I’m not sure which is which
whether the light

is actually the light
or the lack thereof

Ophelia

always interrupt me for
animals or ghosts

food-related reasons
bathroom

a sound you
hear the car making

my exit
a song on the radio in

need of lifting
or a heavy thing

land upon
my head

wake me up with tears
if I am cold

slipped like petals
on the sheets

like grief
drawn by a fly

or a bird
hiding its hurt

stop me at the edge
if I get too close

hold my body in
point me towards

the beginning
and set me down

Mink Teddy Bear

to exist beyond
the worst
having happened

is not the end
of fear
but a full lap

the kids will
often
bring me things

one brings a mermaid
I take its
temperature

one brings
a transformer
it lights up

another brings
a bear that is so soft
it feels alive

maybe it is alive
we’ll keep
its secret

it hides
in the child’s
arms

slips
behind
her voice

around the breath
beneath
the door

mutating
undulate along
the air

like a virus –
evading its end
by

pretending
it’s
not real

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
make the rope you make
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
while no one is looking