I first noticed there was something
wrong with my body when I saw
the way I grabbed at a keyboard.
My fingers turned to small moons. I thought,
“My God, you can’t touch her with these!”
It’s that uncomfortable torrent of your
teeth again, that hair on your lip that you
push against the mistakes of a coast.
And your ugly mutt of an immune system.
Those sores look like land mines.
The way you hold your cigarette now
reminds me of how they taught us to
pull the pin from a grenade. I go to
sleep thinking of pushing you
down flights and flights, and kissing
that strange piece of equipment you
use to communicate.
Sometimes they squat when
they try to listen to each other
sometimes they formally greet
each other by pulling out a rival’s
stomach. Sometimes, well,
most of the time, they just
ignore each other
because they’re professionals.
They float along like survivors, but they
are just crates. They don’t remember how
to wink, they don’t remember how to
replace breath, they don’t remember
how to pick up the phone.
They don’t float along, they just
chatter against each other like each
thrust of a hate fuck.
He wears his hat in such a way
that suggests his birth. He is tilted and
eyes everything that walks through
the front door with regards to the heft
of their tragedies, wondering which
carry pepper spray, which he could
silence in a darkness. Which would
lead him to somewhere he has
never been. One in particular,
with that sag of the soon dead,
one with the cherry red
lips like forever.
We operated on her like
we were downing old growth.
I said, “The van is too small for this,
the heart too large.”
“Shut up and let’s not drag this out
longer than we ought,” he said.
She whispered, “I love you,” or
maybe it was “help me.”
We, all three of us, were helping
to keep some wheel somewhere
spinning while we were engaged
in the debate of human sleep.
Every time he thinks about
his holes, he goes a little blind.
He feels like he is not a free
enough man and there just
aren’t enough hazy girls on
these corners to completely
reduce him. He thinks hard
for an answer. He thinks about
the give of a slot machine’s
handle. He thinks of a well-tied
knot. He thinks, “What a sidewinder,
that west coast.” He thinks of
the marbled women, the ones
from his shinier days.
He thinks how thumbtacks
cannot support a fraction
of the soul’s theft.
My goal is to get hollower and
meaner. I’m so sick of fighting
the distance. The distance is a
bedridden shore. The distance
is the old way of watching the
stars. The distance is a Happy
Meal full of blood. I am just
telling you this so you don’t
ask me “why” in about six months.