I bring the black banners across a sapphire sky. Here it is that you will kneel neck-deep in the grass and close your eyes, and we will both try to remember why our palms still crave for the energy that once crackled between our peeling fingertips under lukewarm raindrops.
I am dirty broke, beautiful, and free.
I’ll slice you open like a little pregnant sow, shrunken and sallow, too juvenile to survive birthing its young.
This is a process piece.
There is a dark place where the only sounds that penetrate the fabric are the church knells and the songs of morning birds. Cramped up underneath particle-board furniture, cold, sweaty knees jammed against my chest and my head pressed against the wood, I close my eyes and flagellate the emptiness with the hurried chicken scratches of crappy convenience store ballpoint pens.
How loath I am to the idea of writing why I write, and how disaffected my taste is to others that do so. The very act seems masturbatory and sinfully indulgent. Yet, somehow unavoidable. Thus, here I am, in physical torture so that I may better write about the physical torture that is poetry. Every letter and dash draws sanguinity from me, every movement of my fingers is fatiguing.
I have horrible handwriting, see – I grip my utensils like they are captive and rabid ravens preparing to take flight. Typing, then, is truly a rediscovery, for with my eyes closed so tight that I begin to drip sweat from my brow, the slop of inscriptions upon whatever unholy papyrus I have scribbled on is nearly always indecipherable. But, you, and by that I mean I, must never stop. Never. Never take a moment to think about the drain, about the parasite that is the poem, about the congenital disease that is writing, about the hereditary defect that is anxiety.
Turn up the bass and make my bones shiver, I’m drawing another bolt from my quiver and this one’s going to be pointed straight at my palms. The exit wounds won’t just be holes, they’ll be stigmata, so prominent and colorful I’ll always have a story to tell.
This is the poem: it is a beast, a corpse of an idea resurrected by a necromancer with a bad sense of humor and nightmares chock-full of black tea and shitty beer. Is hedonism the descent of the soul, or the curing of it? Like some sort of preserved meat?
The Romantics were so rooted in the delusion of the senses, trying to separate themselves so far from reality that they could somehow touch an unrevealed part of humanity. Aren’t your senses deluded enough? Is your life not enough of a shitstorm rollercoaster category seven hurricane that you need illicit substances for inspiration?
On the walls there are shadows and I follow their dancing appendages and feel my cramping fingers lose their blood. Old nail varnish still chipping off. Some sort of sexual fetishism and androgynous fascination brought out by my brother’s wife when I was three and she was nine and they weren’t married yet. Always the relic of the not-quite homosexual, not quite anything. The poem built on a love that I’ve found, that I’ve lost, and that I despise.
The mark that’s left in eggshell white on your flesh when you lifted your clamped hand from its surface.
All at once what you have, what you don’t, what you never will, and what you want in a single spark of ice on the back of the neck just below the base of the skull zapping you. Cattle prod, get a move on, you’re just a slave to your instincts topped by the fear of death.
Confession about the afterlife.
I have the peculiar problem of being someone raised by atheists and gifted with the strange phenomenon of natural-born faith. At every turn, I speak to myself in the tongues of multiple theologies, and yet with the clear, rectifying, and violently unfulfilling knowledge that I am alone in this world, that when I die I am gone, the world is over, my body disintegrates, and that the cycle will continue without me.
Mother Mary hold me close; the rain goddess will protect me from the strength of the burning hand; I am the reincarnate of a forest hare, draped in snow, running fast; soon I will be one with all the world and do nothing in the cave by the eternal fire in the mountains of Persia.
I am alone in my worship, and it is made of terror. I am alone with the poetry, and it is horror.
Sublimity lies in the borderland between suffering and the reverence of falsehoods and universal truths.