[The entire poem appears in TheFirstFlag, forthcoming from Coffee House Press]
◊ I Slid Out of My Mother’s Body Of being numinous. Of drift and syringe. Of metal atonement. Of a tube-fed melancholy. Of post-terror karmic. Of a certain amount of ear. Of the smog smear around the blood hollow. Of the ossified berry like a cave cataract. Of my mind branched out through the fontanel, antlering, leaves letting go of me.
◊ Exogeny I entered air a poisonous object subtracted from a poisoned mother. Herradiance scathesme. I'm a pharmaceutical interpolator. My mother and I have the same (m)Other, man-made (m)Om. I came astride the butcher's alchemical homologue. The butcher said, we'll grow up on this street. We'll wear masks to conceal our monstrous mutual disease. He said, lookatmythrobbingmoneybags. I roam over a burial site, my cosmovisage, some myness that is not quite dead yet. A birth plan spilling cosmovergence.
◊ Doll Box Questioning began to break circuitry into the air between myself and the listening surround. At first my mouth formed only a zero and I was mistaken by some for a doll. This air shielded the world from my sound, which was clotted and seizing, a stirring interior. I only want to feel myself the mother of something. I want, and want to redeem my fire. But a menacing voice perseveres, blacks out my nomorelogos!
◊ Brain Letter One day I woke up rearranged like a sleepwalker misplaced upon a terrain of erotic grenades. Am I a manifesto? Am I cloudless, now? Little fuses sizzled and unfurled smoke signals targeting thoughtpods in outerspace. Each grenade was a tiny twin of my own brain, a memory vessel: myburiedfetalcunt,itsplasticcrust.
It is a test you have to pass. Then you can learn to heal with the finger, said Essie pointing over our heads: I went thru every test on the way, that's how come I'm a shaman. Be careful on the journey, they said, the journey to heaven. They warned me. And so I went. Thru the rolling hills I walked and walked, mountains and valleys, and rolling hills, I walked and walked and walked – you hear many things there in those rolling hills and valleys, and I walked and walked and walked and walked and walked until I came to a footbridge,
I wish to suggest a rather subtle shift in the way we think about our trips, and indeed, our experience in general.
Of course one can and often does simply become lost in the colors of the phenomena that produce themselves for us. But equally frequently, for many of us, the trip is fraught with ontological issues. The matter of the reality of what is going on and what we are experiencing: the reality and nature of the entities we encounter; the nature and reality of the apparent narratives we are the part of.
I did indeed receive your letter urging me to send you the promised text for your special issue on love. But I did warn you that I could tell you only what I think. It was you who questioned me, it is to you that I respond. For I have had, for a long time, nothing more to say about love. It’s a feeling that I believed I had and understood, at a time when I was developing false ideas about life, for in truth I never found any love in it, only in me: