13.

This is Just to Say:

I think too much about what I say and I can’t
stop sput-sput-sputtering when I know I should stop,
show some lovely restraint, shouldn’t press upon
you so hard.  The more I want to emulate you, your detached
mouth placed in your coat pocket (safekeeping), the worse
I become.  A mouth, opened lips, cow tongue
wrapping round and round.  I tell you things, blue
as blood, just underneath this skin, bloodletting
for relief, embarrassing true, but not enough
to plug it up, gratuitous like a slasher film.  Look here:
the completeness of a white, white wall.  Camera holds
its focus though the action is off-screen; hear the scream
until the blood is flung, like spit, in a perverse art,
arcs across the white.  I become this siren-thing, mouth open
because isn’t that what you want most?  Shower-clenched desire,
my mouth overtaking, take you over and over, until your mouth
is a blur, a smear, how it looks from the other side
of the glass shower door, wiped away.
                                                            Where I climb up, up, taking over.


*

12.

The Killing Jar

You are my strange insect.
I am the expert of your cuticles,
have marveled your every joint. 

As a child I took apart a radio 
to see the home of Elvis, to find 
his voice among red and black wires.

I'll put you in a cloth box, 
use thin pins to keep your wings open.
I can't find where your song resides

without destroying your body.


*

11.

Adaptation

My body was built for you, strange cathedral full up
with cleaved hooves, long tongues, and the marrowed
knowledge of bringing you food without a sound. 

My hooves split, grip as a reflex around your craggy heart. 
Long tongues flick out bubbles in your depths so I can smell
you there, blind.  I know enough that when I hunt I bring you

back some kill.  I’ve learned to stir up silt; create a fertile, ringed
cloud to make your silvered fish break the surface, airborne
a moment, my opened mouth waiting.  It’s engrained in me to go

against what scientists hold to be true: the way I hunt alone
for small prey defies nature.  I chase something seven times
my size with such patience and tenacity, until it tires, until

I can grab a heel.  I put myself in your shallow pool, I’m much too
large, my black fin a defiant flag.  I will carry you in my mouth, away
from others’ eyes, like protected young, like a secret, like prey too good

to eat, your slick feathers pressed upon you like a new skin.  I will
put small amounts of your poison on my body so as to make myself
immune, so as to fool you into thinking we are the same.


*

10.

Noticing the Hand

There are lines across skin,
waves of desert sand in lesser wind,
speaking the language of aging.
Ripples of blood change mood.
Fingers move accents of light,
working against the grain, pointing out,
there are shadows in the valley.

If there is any way to find its way home,
the hand would hitchhike by itself.

The hand cannot distance far enough
from the palm, where crossroads go nowhere.
Cows perch on each line
like telephone wires carrying news
no one is coming home after all.

When the hand opens and lays flat the blueprint
what is expected in life, the details
are missing. The space between is the distance
between two hands.

The hand cannot flutter out of the nest in the palm
into fingers of light.
                             

*

9.

 The Music of Hands

Dark music breaks from guitars.
Sheets of music are blood-rain
guiding a horse in miserable weather.

If I was blind and all I could do was touch,
what would I feel? Daybreak;
or, hushed curtains in the sun’s east window?

How could I identify what I could not see?
My hands cannot answer this.
Silence has its own shape.

When we remove the fragments of old news
like archeologist brushing away dirt carefully,
what we find are not mummified hands,

not a promise of eternal life, but instead,
a lock of hair entwined in last grip,
strings from the instrument of love.
                             

*

8.

The Hands Went Nowhere

Today the hands went nowhere.
They stayed where they were and grew older.
They resigned themselves to what can be.
This is what it feels like when abandoned.

When the hands go off by themselves,
they go in opposite directions
trying to escape.


*

7.

All I Did Was Walk Back

from the deer-haunted hollow
a last human hurrah
pre-incarnation.
I couldn’t fear well
dragging the river for Coda
three days of leech latch
on my calves, didn’t see Japheth
tilt from the timbers
on metal prosthetics.
He coops me in the barn
balds me with his hot rail
blooms my head on the plank
hammered over the manger.
He welds the moon
to my embryo’s scarecrow
it and I mewling.
His unluckiest claw seizes my throat.
The maverick phone will not ring.


*

6.

Please Listen to Me


If we were free                      undercat, undercarriage
            we’d steal the world from the butcher
watch your baby nurse blind
                        inside a vat                of polar liquid.


She would be linear             spider bite/teeter totter
            mistletoe, nary a tear
                                   
but we’re petrified               by the slump on the tenth day
                        your poison ring                   or your ghoulish precision.


You trotted us out in green capes, took pictures
when everyone wanted us               berry gingham.

You put us in lion masks at the ballpark
red batting cages      whiskey, our frail frames

our feeding device.              


When you’re stuck, just remember
she had a twin                                   and it’s your lot to suffer

the hard carnival                              the digital ding
slurp mescaline                                            on the dune as we wander

from incubators with manes.


*

5.

I'm wearing a burka, you SHOULD be pissed

            Oh, I'm sorry
                        did I upset your fragile sensibilities
            by bringing you face to face with the fact that
                                    some larger fraction of a billion women
                        got beaten within a half-inch of their lives today
                                                for petty crimes against some piece of shit culture
                        that conveniently created a god to codify inequality?
                                   
                       
            How could I have the gaul, huh?

                        What kind of racist
                                    would wear a burka out to the bar
            and be dragged around on a leash
                        by his keffiyeh wearing friend
                                                while mumbling
                        save me
                                                like the sadism he was satirizing
                        was something we should all be disgusted by?
           
                        I mean
            who am I to call it
                                    the cult of misogyny?
                                               
                                    I must have missed the religious ecstasy
                        of rejecting womanhood as an evil predisposition towards prostitution
                                    by hiding my face like a criminal
                                                and letting the husband I met on our wedding night
                                    regularly rape and degrade me
                                                for the greater glory of a prophet that was a pedophile
                        or I would clearly see
                                                that while we fight to make no stop
                                                            mean NO! STOP!
                                                in our society
                                    in Saudi Arabia and all countries under Sharia
                                                Get the fuck back in the house and cower in the corner
                                                                        until I need you for food or sex
                                                            or I will stone you to death
                                                is just a term of endearment
                                    steeped in generations of beautiful tradition
                                               (that predates the religion by more than a thousand years)
                                                and any suggestion to the contrary
                        is a contemptible and close minded assault
                                    on a culture just trying to oppress its own people in peace
                                    I should hold myself to a higher standard!
                                                I should try to be more understanding
            We as American's bomb people
                                    not call them out on their bullshit!
                        I mean
                                    how in the hell
                        is the military industrial complex
                                    going to continue to carry our economy
            if we went out and did something stupid
                                                like take a unilateral stance against hate-groups
                                    posing as religions
                                                and call that a solution
                        in lieu of regular tactical interventions?

                                    It's one thing to be a militant white supremacist
                                                but you can't
                                                            call out
                                                            the religion they are quoting
                                                           
and you can't
say
the entire culture is a perversion thereof

                                    because how can we expect people to be complacent with our sins
                                                if we don't ignore theirs?

            I'm sorry
                        so please
                                    forgive me
            and get back to yelling at your girlfriend
                                    for looking at other guys


*

4.

One-Stop Life

after the apocalypse
i am alone
everyone else
spent the preceding days
participating in focus groups
making smaller and smaller task forces
designing apps,
going to meeting after meeting
about what was to be done
I bought all the guns
and took over a Costco
and now
i am eating all the fruit snacks
i am swimming in the kiddie pools
i am watching the dvds
on hundreds of large screens
and everything is true
all at once

i run through the pharmacy
and who we could have been
implodes into who we are
i won't start worrying until
the sewer system fails
i won't start worrying until
i get scurvy
or something we have never heard of
even our deaths will be new now

you remember that guy
who told you he didn't love you
because you weren't "real" enough?
what the fuck
was he talking about?
the idea of falseness faded
with each explosion
fake is real and lies are true
because if it still exists
then it is our reality

i'm not so into all these vitamixes
i used to really want one, but
it is hardly exciting to have four hundred
of anything. there are only so many smoothies
a girl can blend.
I've taken out all the blades instead.

you remember that guy
who continued to tell me he loved me
for so long after it wasn't true
that i started to wonder
what he had meant when he said it in the first place?
did the meaning of the word change
with each use?
his words just a fickle linguistic moodring
maybe he should have conserved it
for deployment in emergency situations only.

they told me
i wasn't what they were looking for
that i didn't have enough experience
in social media. well, they're all dead now
because social media can't pump your blood
or clot your cuts. it won't guard against you spilling
your guts, in fact, that is what it wanted.
i thought the apocalypse would be haunted
but it echoes with relief. thank god,
i got out of the business of belief
and into warehouse shopping memberships.


*

3.

Interior Decorating

I.

you made an elaborate macrame of logic
though it was a little dated
compared to the rest of the decor
we decided to put the spider plant in it.
the one someone's mom gave us,
the one that was older than america.
the spider plant that spent that entire summer dying,
and then didn't.
the macrame became more complex,
a mass of knots, a dreadlock of reason.
I wanted a nice watercolor in that corner,
washes of blue, simple things to feel around.
I wanted shots of sunspots and landing on the moon.
I wanted joy and doom, the uncomplicated truth of
loving and dying.
you do. or you don't.
there is no exasperating quilt to curl around
your indecision.
why did we bother thinking about feeling?
the light through the curtains
there is no explaining
that would satisfy me. there is no
complex truth, no vast grey area
no tesla will take you there.
truth has been replaced by beauty so completely
that no one can ever find their keys.


II.

you've been on my case
to see the doctor for a couple decades.
well, it has been too expensive
so I haven't gone. instead i filled
the space between my joints
with fine green glitter. i found it worked
better than those fancy vitamins
like x and y and z. vitamins for the new
world order that make the men so large
they can't get through the doors on the bus anymore.
at least walking is making a comeback.
i'll save myself from heart attack
some other way. i'll set my aorta with glue,
wipe out my arteries with pipe cleaners.
when I understand my insurance
i'll go to the doctor to find out
what you want to be wrong with me.

III.

i honestly thought this dishwasher 
would make me happy


*

2.
I CAN’T BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE FUCKED-UP SHIT I DO IN YOUR DREAMS

A tornado
tearing your house and all your precious memories
down to the ground
with the leaves and the bugs
and the remorse
time to put your back
into the stiff and bracing wind
time to

Wake up, little flower
the bees are sniffing ‘round your pollen now
you are the rain,  you are the wind
you are the tree
that cannot be defeated

A disease
that has thousands of names
Paul and Jan, Jesus and Ferdinand
Donald and Yukio, Pen-ak and Buster
and a thousand faces
worn on the coats of your friends
like a purple heart
time to open your eyes
to the heartache all around you
time to

Wake up, little earthling
you are your sister and she is you
you are the hero, you are the villain
you are the mirror
that speaks the painful truth

A pistol
wet between your trembling lips
itchy finger on the trigger
sweat dripping down your brow
muscles tensing for the bang
time to accept that weakness
can be your greatest source of strength
time to

Wake up, little soldier
your critics have abandoned you
you are the bridge, you are the glue
you are the foundation
that holds us all together

A father
screaming bloody murder and crying
over spilled milk and broken noses
hiding his face from disappointment
that his milestones are not your dreams
time to wipe that chalkboard clean
of blank equations and pastel expectations
time to

Wake up, little child
those voices have no hold on you
you are the person, not the mold
you are the destination
not the map


*

1.

THE 7-DAY DRUG ADDICT EXERCISE AND WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM

Day 1
Crystal meth
Lots and lots of crystal meth
Sweat, scream, explode
Talk and talk and talk and talk
Stay up
all fucking night
Rage like a house on fire
Food
Food?
I don’t need
no stinking food
All I need is porn
Tits and asses and pussies
and legs spread wide
Give it to me, baby
Total calories-0

Day 2
Crystal meth again
Didn’t sleep
Gotta go to work
Too fucked up to drive
Feel like shit
but I look like a million bucks
not an ounce of fat on me
Run all day
Help the damn customers
Help the damn customers
So many damn customers
Finally get off
Lock myself in my room
with my porn
Don’t want anyone to see me like this
Food
What food?
Don’t want any fucking food
Just my porn
All night long
Tits and asses, tits and asses
Can’t stop staring
Total calories-0

Day 3
Still more crank
Can’t stop, can’t stop
Got to go to work
Voices calling my name
Can’t think straight
Must move very slowly
Watch every gesture
Can’t knock anything over
Got to hold it together
a few more hours
then back to my porn
My precious porn
Tits tits tits tits tits tits tits
Food
One hard-boiled egg
Got to choke something down
Feel like I’m dying
So hard to chew
Tastes like cement
Back to my porn
Can’t stop staring
Been looking at same picture
all damn night
Total calories-78

Day 4
Heroin
Got to come down
Feels like my head
is going to explode
Walking the street
up and fucking down
Somebody’s got to have some dope
Finally score
Feel like I’m going to puke
Watch the blood cloud the stopper
This is good, this is good
Damn, this is good
Lay back on the couch
Close my eyes
Start my nod
Need some fucking sleep
Food
No food
Forgot to eat
Wasn’t hungry, anyway
Stomach feels so queasy
Total calories-0

Day 5
More heroin
Nodded off
before I used all my dope
Can’t find a vein
Used to be so easy
Now so goddamn hard
Nothing but scars and scabs
Jumping jacks, jumping jacks, jumping jacks
Get the blood flowing
Work up a sweat
Can use the exercise
Heart beating fast
Need to sit down
Why can’t I hit a fucking vein?
Food
Two spoonfuls of ice cream
All I can take
Don’t want anything else
Just the thought of food
makes my want to hurl
Total calories-28

Day 6
Speedballs
Heroin and cocaine
Time for the weekend
Time to party
Fuck yeah
First the coke hits
Then the dope
Nothin’ better than this
Pouring sweat
Changed my shirt three times
Haven’t gone to the bathroom
all week, all week
Stand in front of the toilet
trying to piss
Nothing comes out
Forgot how
to make it happen
Who gives a damn?
Food
No food, no food
Don’t want to chew
Don’t like the grinding
Just want another shot
then another
and another
Total calories-0

Day 7
Speedballs again
Heart beating so fast
Too much coke
Need more heroin
Got to come down
Feel like head
is going to explode
Damn, hits me hard
Too much heroin
Overshot my mark
Nodding off
Fuck, nodding off too fast
Going to sleep
Can’t keep my eyes open
Can’t keep my eyes
open
Food
One ice cube
Not really food
Don’t want to eat it
Shove it up my ass
Keep me awake
Please
Shove it up my ass
Keep me awake
Keep me alive
Total calories-0


*

0.

HOW MUCH TEQUILA IS TOO MUCH TEQUILA?

Vomit sticking
to my lips, teeth and tongue
Cold grass and dirt
against my face
I think I overdid it
Please God Please God Please God
if you can stop this spinning
I will never do this
again, never do this
again, at least not
today

Went to a party
in Malibu
but woke up
in the back of my car
in Irvine
Got to stop
drinking and driving
I guess I have no choice
but to give up
driving

At the start of the party
I down a shot
just one shot
of tequila
I know it will make me puke
it always does
every damn time
Once I’ve cleaned myself up
I can get down
to the serious business
of drinking

Went to a party
in Malibu
but woke up
in the back of a truck
in Nebraska
At least I think
it’s Nebraska
The newspaper says
it’s the Lincoln Journal Star
Is that Nebraska?
I think it is
I have no money in my pocket
and no idea
how to get home
Got to stop
drinking, got to give up
drinking, but I cannot give up
drinking, how do you give up
drinking?

The worm has turned, my friends
the worm has turned
and it has
devoured me