December 2010

Five Poems

This is what they say
listen to this poem
 
They say, effective immediately, and applicable in all our states, we are subject to search and seizure. Should we wish to report our loss, our damage, our delay, we may do so loudly, publicly even, but we won’t be heard and we won’t be listened to. Should we wish to report, we should present our hands and faces for cuffing. Our shortness of breath, our blurred vision, our predilection for sweets and violence, our gradual slipping into trancelike catatonia, these are the markers of our ineligibility. Restrictions, inscrutable charges, perpetrated by a system beyond our comprehension—call it God—will be applied.

This is what they say
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They say we mark our maps in musk, dust, wood smoke and urine, unoriented to the polar star. We stumble into our open topographies in pain, in a rage that won’t kindle, won’t burn, our oxidation too slow for the tasks at hand. We move through these landscapes as if we weren’t born to them, as if these hills and valleys weren’t our very own, as if we were lost and cannot be found.

This is what they say
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They say we shed our clothes like leaves from a tree, less leaving than left, less mirror than doorway, a visage less ourselves than goose flesh migrating across vast expanses of skin. Our flock reveals more than human terms allow. Splashed against the backdrop of stunted shrub and lichen, our chimera’s mouth, stifled by feathers, cannot be heard by closing the eyes. Instead, the eyes must squeeze shut, tighter and tighter until the creation of their own white light and the blood roaring into our ears conjures fire, different from conjecturing fire. This is synaesthesia, our correction, necessary in that pinching ourselves hard between thumb and forefinger over and over is necessary for us to summon up from the hot thrum of our bodies the shushing sound of waves and threshing wind. This place we call elsewhere, anywhere but here, a northern lake, where we swim out beyond the tree line’s reflection to a place we know cannot be depended upon. Here we will release our buoys from their chains that we might display our illuminated objects.

This is what they say
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They say not to speak of negatives, like the roof falling in, or the bottom dropping out, but we wonder what then to speak of. Sermons, half jokes, fey instructions, what frightens us most are the rotting beams invisible beneath the floorboards, the threatening collapse from above beyond our notice. We consider the possibility of unperceived existence, we consider the dissimilarity between sensation and reality, but there is little to do but sigh deeply and return to our exhausting toil, knowing in the deepest recesses of our collective heart that night terrors are for children and we are all too awake.

This is what they say
listen to this poem

They say we swelter in a brittle kettle under a black setting sun where the doors have fallen from the hinges and the clocks have all stopped. Our mothers no longer speak. Flies gather. We’re bending spoons with minds lock jawed and rickets bound. Our bodies are pulled from the lake, glistening, woundless and beautiful, like we want everything for ourselves, like we are everything ourselves. Crucifer in staccato, our pale tongues click and whir, breathing lust into fairytale, sparking brushfire, and ghosting once wooded trails, once bountiful orchards with a dream painted in thunder and antimony.