There is erogenesis
a slit between
mint and molar
safety of innocence
There is erogenesis
Both place-based and place-less, this is a poem of great disloyalty. These are interactive objects discolored by the touch of people’s hands.
It is time to look at the concentric rings of once-whole wood. Here is the drought that starved us out. Here, the fire that barely killed us.
We contract the disease that killed him —remember which salad dressing to order, but not the man we cherished like a vow.
never trust a pitcher who refuses to hit his fair share, whether fair or foul, or else you’ll end up whispering your wedding vows to the outfield, cleaning up after the septic run-on sentence of your body—fainting spells, blood-caked toenails, rose-gold swellings jetting pus around the five-pointed star of your breast. different from the rest, he told you the story of how he became designated hitter in college, adopted a fake name you remember (perhaps wrongly) as tucker, and somehow mustered the guts to face each pitch stone-cold sober—swearing off the devil’s water, leafy greens and LS-dream fodder, not to mention children’s tylenol, atenalol, pain relievers one and all. that’s the kind of teetotaling ragdoll i would have let tattoo my forearm come fall, had the lager not robbed me of my faith in man and god. that’s the happy-go-lucky glad-hander who threw the first pitch in the dirt, so it wouldn’t hurt as much when its stitching ripped apart and left the earth
because the concept of heaven renders us all bygone astronauts. because burning forever would, in my book, be better. because this is my book, goddammit, and your ghost just a character. a character i stone to death over and over, like a piñata whose precious insides turn out to be just blood and water. because i want to show you how even a wordsmith can stumble on mother, the first syllables to stick between the teeth and sift the rubble for relief. a word that even now precedes me, precedes bondage, earth, trees, vaseline and ennui. precedes the need to give myself over to the elements and then, in turn, retreat, tape together my cheeks and terrorize the moon’s sleep with the memory of my confessor banishing me to the basement floor. by four in the morning, she’d awoke and spoke regretfully, but for me it will always be too late to go back to outer space, where the umbilical tethers taunt and chafe and the faraway planets don’t know me by name, but by taste
Tourists wade at the edge of the surf,
white swollen knees hover above the clay-
colored foam — blimps following a parade.
Sand pours out of bathing suits shucked
outside the backyard shower: bare flanks
breaded like chicken cutlets, waiting. Yellow
grains scratch the painted floorboards again.
Five borders, three languages: I’ve left
slate roofs and sausage rolls behind.
In the empty compartment, the bed
stretches out – whiter than home,
starched, almost the smell of bottled
clouds – shuddering at each unnamed
stop, squealing by the late-night sidings.
When magenta and chrome yellow
hang in the windows, fields
colored like cheap calendars taped
to a pre-school wall, I’ll step
into the train station and speak
its language like a toddler,
with a wallet and a full set of keys.
A light drizzle greeted the ferry as it arrived in Newfoundland, six hours across Cabot Strait from Nova Scotia. A fog shrouded the low hills bordering the harbor, misty white hands trying to reclaim the land for a sea reluctant to give it up.
Later, I found a passage in John Gimlette’s book, Theatre of Fish, with a similar image of Newfoundland from 19th century American explorer Robert T.S. Lowell: “A monstrous mass of rock and gravel, almost without soil, like a strange thing from the bottom of the great deep, lifted up suddenly, into the sunshine and storm, but belonging to the watery darkness out of which it has been reared.”
Newfoundland is nature’s great experiment to saturate stone. The rocks seem always wet, even in the sun, which has no power to dry them. Bogs and fens are everywhere – in the valleys, on the moors, and up mountain slopes, where not even gravity can loosen the water.
But the rock is stubborn and not quickly washed away. It is the northern extent of the Appalachians, part of the oldest surviving mountain system on the planet, older than the Rockies, the Alps, and the Himalayas, formed on the ancient super-continent of Pangaea.
After 480 million years of rain, snow, wind, freeze, thaw, and scouring glacial ice, the mountains have been worn to their nubs, but nubs that still reach half a mile high. The sea can only reclaim them one grain at a time.
Fifty-eight percent of the men and women at whom you smile while grocery shopping say the torture of suspected terrorists can be justified “often” or “sometimes.” Fifty-seven percent of the men and women who hold a restaurant door open for you say harsh interrogation techniques can provide information that can prevent terrorist attacks. Army Field Manual 34-52 Chapter 1 reads: “Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.” And yet.
the year I spent eating
a hangover hippocampus
slamming on & off like a stagelight
I couldn’t stop watching
that trashbag caught in a tree
pray for a break in the blight
how many people won’t
speak to you now
there was a silo I knew
that burnt down and what remained
was a cement ring this
is autopsy membrane
fixation in all my territory
I find so little tender