I On December 16, 1811 an earthquake caused parts of the Mississippi river to flow backwards. The carp, habitually swimming upstream to mate and lay eggs found itself not minding. II I want to touch her chest the way they would expect a man to touch her chest. The reaching: fingertips to the rice barrel, her arms arching in, backwards lung swell. Considering the throes I stack, re-stack and clear: I never forget a reach (the aloe one makes me need). I’ve never received a balming that wasn’t resilient to its wares—the hand that holds the ladle, post-ice water, two-toned lips. Non-clit, non-dick, hold it like a non-doorknob, don’t vomit, be like a horse.III The current muscles a distinct direction and to steer is to pattern oneself towards an arrow of breeding, convex to concave, all hail the briny common center of the binary star. Shear the tiger, shear those stripes. It’s unacceptable to believe this grows out of the skin. IV When I was pulled sole first out of my mother’s slit stomach, no one told me I was here to multiply. I was given a strike to breathe and a welcoming: “You’re here because you’re here. Last as long as you can. Find the things that make it worth staying.” V 24 hours later when the river reversed back, the carp had already tasted the opposite. The tiger, still striped, lay nude. The one-way valve inside of the horse does its job unlike the human’s one-way valve that lets food travel the opposite direction. The humane, the non, those who use cheesecloth for gauze. Bucking off faulty dichotomy, extending the arm, wholesale saddles, (no, please don’t) bridle me in white. If the map ends up being the territory, never become attached to one of your pawns (knowing you want that queen)
I used to read the biographies of dead poets for clues of suicidal intentions. The day of dead giveaway, the poem of hot lead, hot syrup, the chronological moment in which the under eye discolored and the produce turned all at once and the remaining wad of life no longer felt worthy of a body, the currents of blood, the atoms chipping. Now my moon is hollow, my bite a few teeth uneven and I re-read these biographies for clues of vitality— panning paragraphs for gold arrows, the typography of breath, body of troops, the dispatch that died in a post office. The flashiest lie is that our context is buried only in books as if poets don’t have neighbors or tackle boxes or sewing kits or frozen fillets of halibut. I have cached my best work in the chests of those who have handed me bell peppers, in the muscles of the lovers who have let my morning hand inside of their pillowcase. The delusion: that I’ve wasted my best lines on the taxi driver while drunk. I fog the partition with the slurred question— is a seed still a seed even when there isn’t any soil or ink?
Girls who walk pigeon toed. Girls who hate themselves when removing their fake eyelashes. Girls who pant during sex. Girls who read Judith Butler. Girls who read Calvin and Hobbes. Girls who smell like babies. Girls who check to see if their thigh dimples are visible. Girls who hate compliments. Girls who get off by getting you off. Girls with phantom limbs. Girls who never update their smart phones. Girls with dreadlocks that smell. Girls with tabby cats. Girls with diabetes who give you their macaroons. Girls who are kind and then immediately cruel. Girls with shitty tattoos. Girls who buy prefabricated homes. Girls who back away from the fireplace with soot on their hands. Girls who wear fake dicks. Girls who sneeze in their hands and then touch the hallmark cards. Girls who clip coupons and buy tampons in bulk. Girls who bounce around and do soft-core and make you touch yourself in traffic. Girls who eat foie gras with saltines. Girls who park in the loading zone. Girls who are under the impression that you don’t know what they’ve done. Girls in jersey dresses with visible thong lines. Girls on skateboards cutting off your right turn. Girls in group formation looking my way. Girls who trapeze. Girls who have panic attacks. Girls who decide not to be girls anymore. Girls who never made it to Syracuse. Girls who cry wolf. Girls who snack. Girls with fake accents. Girls who read billboards to you from the passenger’s seat. Girls who scare their mothers. Girls who drink orange Fanta behind their boyfriend’s back Girls who lie their way out of a lie. Girls who walk around Target in yoga pants. Girls with wet hair. Girls with wet hair. Girls with wet hair. Girls in wigs.
I am always attempting to play your fulcrum. I cut strange capers in your proximity. I cut up all kinds of shines. Watch me at no great distance tearing up the sod with hoofs and horns and passion hands. Watch me pivot around the copper fleck I found in your eye. I can see every portion of your life weaving together like whicker when your mouth presses itself into the nape of my neck. Let me smooth down your cow-lick, let me pull you out by the parsnip. I can't keep parallel with any other curb. I won’t deacon the calf, I won’t girdle the cypress trees, I won’t damage my cuticles to hold onto you. I watch you put brandy in your cold water and you watch me feast with the wolves, with the devil fish, with your fever as my platter. I dine with the flat-footed. I call them no vulgar names. I take no pride in my arch these days. We are all the grain that has been through the mill. I need you to know about the plans I never started and that my castles in the sky are more like sand dunes I manipulate and shape with my shoulders and that I am far from pretty when I do it. My body is a pantry. I have never learned how to stack. I push your cans to the back. I’m going to fill your hands with cold flour now and hope you never take another french leave.