Tagged: the Humans

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 – how exciting it is to
jump into a sentence before
knowing its ending
it’s got you talking
you can’t not finish
there’s 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

Jump the River

watching kids play
Jump the River, which
is a game with two ropes

the kids line up, then
run at the “river”
& jump across it

each time the river
gets wider until the kids
are barely able to make it

some run their hardest then
stop abruptly at its edge
some throw their bodies &

roll for extra distance
some just cry –
too hard, no fair

later they will wade in
the creek. its banks
move apart like ropes

the water flow lessens
some of it abruptly stops
it gets warmer

the sunlight reaches lower &
blooms the algae
the tadpoles feel the urgency

the tepid water tells them
hurry up, get eaten
or get caught & held

their instruments still in
perfect spiral
our eyes take time to adjust

to decide if we are heading
towards, or away
either way we fall into it

then drop it
will we get word?
will it be fire? monsoon?

will we throw our bodies?
or stop abruptly
at its edge?

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

to my Brother’s Spirit

at first, my courage
was naive
it couldn’t have imagined
so it led with that

now my courage
feels old
no longer looking
no longing for something to happen

like Mom said – I knew
there was something
more interesting about us
and I felt it

now I couldn’t care less
I want to live
as long as we can
in case we were wrong

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
feverish kazoo music?
Denis? Denis?

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

Yell Fuck at Canoe Rental

geese scream hate
over a banjo being played
inside a trailer full
of life-jackets

the geese are so angry
they lose themselves
feathers in disarray off them
dropping two at a time

soon there will be
more feathers on
the ground
than on the birds themselves

you could build a new bird
imagine the feathers cleaned
and colored for crafts
kids attaching them

to their shoes, banjo music
lifting them into the sky
where light is adjacent colors
the music plays on speaker

it will never stop
but eventually the geese do
they scream their necks
into collapse, then

disperse, like light
onto the blacktop
squirming
the light is the same light

as always. we’ve had it
this whole time. it has been
everything since and will be
everything else

it extends beyond the prism
of our atmosphere. it comes from
a fucking star – how can there
be hate?

it is only the brain making
of light what it will
the brain which has never felt
the feeling of light on its skin

Salamander

light, like the cricket that leaves the cave
our minds which consume
and think they have been. our minds

of the palest skin
they are stuck inside
the cave of skull

blind as a salamander – seeing nothing
aware only of what is brought back