Plowed Under

The harvest moon rests
in the palm of the brown sky;
my days lie, furrowed.

I turn earth over your face,
hoping seeds sprout in autumn.

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Honeymooners

Mankind is the jewel
on Mother Nature’s back,
the wart she tries
to shake off, the crown,
the overgrowth, the curl,
the dancing partner,
the interlocutor,
the houseguest, the punchdrunk
husband,
all the bribery, care,
and old-world brutish love
rolled into one.

The habit she can’t lose,
the drug she can’t quit,
the one who holds her
from behind,
stroking her hair
and pulling it.


Theodicy

God is the lightning
bug that I forget
about until He
blinks.


World History 101

Tourists show up at my doorstep
at five on Tuesdays, filed in
from Fresno, Sussex, Mombassa,
and the slums of Moscow.
They wield cameras, newspaper
clippings with my face etched
in their cover, and a curious
amazement at my frame.

I take them around the compound,
pointing out bits of import:
here the mother clutched her child
while they were both shot,
by the rusty gate I vomited
green that came from my soul.

Some snap
pictures, a few
weep, others take
notes lazily,
half-awake
in the lecture hall.

The main attraction, the Jew
who knew the hiding place
of fifty more but said not
a word, taking his mustard
like a man and lying
on the grating with a crooked smile.

More weep, more
take pictures,
some hang
their heads.

The tour complete, I wander,
starved, into a furnace, pushed
by a man with blonde hair
and a t-shirt, half-awake.

I’ll be up again in a week
for another tour.
Class dismissed.


Identity Quilt

I walk, a feast
of ribs jingl-
ing.

I pilfer strips of flesh
from the backs of those
who wander near.

I sew each fresh skin-
piece over the bleached
knobs and cracks.

I fill up the holes,
building a towering chest
out of my brothers.

I build organs, a heart,
from the slices I snatch
from the sides of my sisters.

I pick out shards of my father,
clumping together the sharp
and the dull, shoving
them inside.

I accept every patch of my mother,
weaving them through my toes,
tying them at the end with knots,
stringing them up on a rafter
after I’m done.

The cells stick together and cling
like fire to a broken bough.
My blanket holds me, shields me
from the ice-marrow wind.
Throbbing with whispers of future
and friendship, swelled with blood
that seeps out in conversation
and clinking glasses, I am threaded.


Parallel Lines

Sign language, the billboard
of earth gods: skulls on a
shaman stick. Oil and water
in a decanter, room temper-
ature, releasing fumes
until it can be swa-
llowed. Beaks through egg-
shell white huts, pulling
the outside in and folding
it, a metal chair.

It lies on the ditch without
a bridge or bottom.


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Sorry for the long break from posting, guys. Reading Lacan takes energy.

This poem came out of a pretty agoraphobic experience, where a lot of existential problems emerged at once. Hope you enjoyed it!


1 July 1916

I keep a list of interesting lines for when I want to write a poem, but haven’t had a particular bit of inspiration strike me. This poem came out of a note I wrote to myself which said, “Last words pinned to the inside of a jacket before leaving trench.” The title comes from the date of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, in WWI, which was one of the largest conflicts in that war, and the archetypal trench conflict in history. Hope you enjoy!

————————

Marie, if bullets come
from my side, remember
to keep my casket
shut with stone.
I will not stay in
a trench,
but crawl to the other side.
My comrades are bound, beyond
the line that I must cross.
Let our children hear
that their father died
for them.

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