THEMES  THAT YOU LIKE
Intox Nonsense
NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION
15. April 2014

There’s a fan spinning endlessly over me. Or it’s not endless, but might as well be. The center circle reads LASKO, and so that’s what I’ve been calling her all night, this pretty white thing with a scratch on one blade that, as she spins, burns a line of brown across my sight.

 -

LASKO asks:

            Why pretend sleeping?

 -

I like the sound of her voice, its distant thrumming. But before anything else can happen, there comes another question—this from her queen, living floors above and in the air. Though I cannot see her, I know the queen wears feathers but is a bat-bodied demon beneath the wig.

 -

The queen asks:

            Whose experimentation are you?

 -

I wear a daisy crown and the American flag as a bikini. I smoke cigarettes as I have every time and answer them:

            Who cares.

 -

In the mirror your chest makes a mountain that constantly flattens into a wide plain and rebuilds itself again. My fingers are cattle moving across it. If I must survive this night over and over in our small eternity, I might as well love you. Beneath my face the glitter diary reads a long ugly us moving cursively pointless. Also it’s nicely rough when opened in my hands, as it is now. All around me the blanket is sticky. You’re sleeping.

 -

There is a space we are in but no way into/out of or through it. This room is an exit-lane food court of pill after pill after stab after sip after sip. Your silence is a proud king looping one speech all with the breath of the clean, even though we’ve been at it for hours like days in this place with your hands on my body. Their trembling tells me: Wake up, pretty birdy.

 -

I see now when I close my eyes and try moving my mind: we’re just truckers with infinite stops translating the map of time poorly, going around a smooth bend with no seatbelts, no end. Time is a circular interstate dotted with stops, and each stop dotted with whores. Beneath you my whole being lives as a rest stop, my perilous body (in this bed, this hour) a whore.

 -

Whores are just landmarks everybody must pass many times while looping the highway in dark, and they live in all things: pills/pipes/cigarettes/sears-catalogue-houses/syringes/dark liquid/lawns/knives/bibles/textbooks/soap/washing machines. As for you, your whore lives in my body, which you only stopped touching an hour ago as if hours mean something. As for me, this rest stop’s the sound of you whispering, which ceased long before your hands found me.

 -

You kept muttering how there’s a place called Coon Lake between the Illinois and Mississippi. I don’t know and I can’t know what this means. Your silence at least makes a kind of sense to me.

 -

When I was and every time I was twelve, you took me very close to there—right where the two rivers merge and they erased the Piasa bird—to a water park on the bluffs with concrete slides painted like sharks.  You bought me pink sandals. You’ve done this each time around and will keep doing so forever. I don’t know how this makes me feel at all.

 -

Did you know Coon Lake before we went? Or did you see a sign while we were on our way to swimming? Why did the thought stick in you, and where did it come from? None of my questions could matter, and the outcome of our lives stays course, inevitable.

 -

I’m glad that now you’re sleeping, not because we’re no longer touching (an idle hand lies on the soft skin behind my knee, where calf meets thigh). It’s because your eyes—when they watch mine with your open palm flat to my skin—aren’t so much human eyes as they are separate creatures.

 -

I smell one a fox and the other an oriole. Both talk and have hands as you talk and have hands. If I were to track them into the woods of your face, I know they would both be of different forests. I’d see who you are by the intricate ways each would trap me wild under the kudzu encroaching two river roads. The same way I’d know which thing lived in each iris, and why he must live there.

 -

If I were somebody truthful, less fuzzy, somebody livewire, I might speak now into your chest cavity. I’d tell you (soft) how I know your love is massive, but it reaches me only in pieces as it drifts in sideways and slanted through the window of my being’s car going far too fast along time’s infinite highway. (I don’t know where these thoughts are coming from. They’re harsh and heavy).

 -

Instead I speak to LASKO only, LASKO who doesn’t reach for my face, and so cannot love me. But I no longer know how to speak with my mouth. My hand points: Look with me, watch the moon sing to itself over the cool edge of bathtub in our motel-six window, ringing a sickly light in our dumb and dim wavering/wanting.

 -

Even the moon is stuck on its own road and racing the track—I say this in silence to you—so can’t you stop crazed-circling my head now, it’s so loud loud loud. My skull is anxious. It chews.

 -

The thrum of your circling me like a drain is both deadly and painless. In the oncoming darkness, I hear in your breathing a sign that you need me to stay here. You need me but never awake, never sleeping. You pull me constantly into you. You keep me constantly moving.

 -

I can’t stop hearing signs of what you need from me turning like sirens, signs changing my face to a totem and yours to a screen. So I leave the room but keep the door wide open. I still see you.

 -

In the bathroom I sit on the toilet and watch three brown spiders move pattern-less across stucco as if there were patterns at all. Cross-legged, I draw up crude designs of your penis all over the pages unused in the back of my glitter diary, pages for February.

 -

In the peripheral vision of dreaming, I watch a dove ash itself onto the television. You stand up, moving like a ghost, and come to the mirror to start in on brushing your teeth.

 -

On a new page, as you work above the sink, I draw your figure reaching for something and all lines loop. This is a stop on the interstate—me turning the page and you watching your teeth in the mirror as if they might move. And each time I come to this, reach this place, he steps into my forehead: the hound.

 -

Is he one of my eyes? And which one?

 -

He draws on the inner wall of my skull looped designs of my figure as it goes on jumping a long rope alone on the surface of puddles under a bridge after rain nine years ago—happening happening happening the same way every lifetime around.

 -

Even when they’re closed I want to shut my eyes now. Highway lights burn on the canvas screen of my veined lids. The billboards: all illegible.

 -

I know many lifetimes pictured at once are bound to look road-like, when you get far enough away. But how do you stay in one place? I slip in and out of distance, at once seeing myself from the eye of the bat-bodied queen of the sky and then a small square of knowing—the windshield window of my car moving fast on the interstate lifetime.

 -

I keep trying to stop but not at a rest stop, right here in the road. If I were run over I might finally die, but a real death. No coming back for the same thing all over again. Nothing waits patiently when everything returns, you have to keep barreling forward until the air runs fast enough to never know or learn you.

 -

I want to rip the clock from the wall but the clock is broken. It won’t tell me anything. My head aches. My head is a giant. I am opening, but from the inside out.

 -

Because I want to be surrounded, I get it the bath and press both my cheeks to the porcelain. If I turned on the water I’d be another person. The bat body hangs still above me, sometimes shudders awake then resets. Even the seconds are looping.

 -

You’re sitting beside me and kneeled on the ground. I want to start crying but both of your eyes are glassed over and they cannot cry, so neither can I. The fox and the oriole trade both their forests for diamonds. Now I no longer see a great distance in either blue iris, only a nonstop glittering turning to flickers.

 -

When I close my eyes, I can still feel the distance in front of me. I want to say: I’m not driving; I’m swimming. And I see the sky. But I suspect you could not hear it if I tried.

Although I’m now part of the bathtub, you lift me. Your palms turn my body into a red-muscled salmon, writhing and gasping:

It’s too hot here—I’m heavy. Toss me back please please into the icy sound. 


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14. April 2014

You can’t prove somebody loves you

It isn’t a science, but it also just simply cannot be true

 -

People love in different ways

(This alone means love doesn’t exist)

There are too many versions of it

 -

Love is not a thing

Love is not one thing

Love is an ultimate failure of wording

 -

What it means depends on who says it, who hears it and when

 -

Like God

 -

Love and God are both the collection of many thoughts, many desires and actions

All of which are true in their way, could be proven to be so

 -

(People pray, their minds go wild with holy)

(You touch my cheek as you do, I run a palm over your forehead)

 -

Meaning that they exist, that they are—the actions themselves

The small moments

Not love or God

 -

If you push such things into one word

Their entirety collapses

 -

Lovers and faith burst into shards that look like stars


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11. April 2014

They’re playing Motown and only that over the speakers. The ceilings are arched and the hall is a church in its center. These are the spaces so wide they turn godly and souls feed the homeless, some soulless. There’s a hole in my head. A leaking sound circles my ears but everything else is filling instead. Just look or listen, whichever hits. You’ll know what it is. It’s why I want to empty. I keep trying to say this but somebody eating many tables back is screaming MAKE ME. On my plate there’s bread and fish. The bells aren’t going and they wont go. There’s gum under the table. I want to be able to reach it and suddenly I can and I do and it’s hard and my fingers can’t tell it ever was sweet. I can feel where the teeth bit; I can feel where they’d meet. When I think I am gum I have already surrendered. Now I live under tables. I’m upside-down and backward but my brain won’t stay still. The earth flips but only inside me as I am a separate universe stuck to the underbelly. Gravity is back to original flavor and pissed off and pushing me into the surface of pain like a salmon. I’m grill-bound. There is a smile like Rachael Ray grinding her teeth right above me. Who’s preparing my body? And for whom? The cultures that make up my muscle and flavor croon: Cover me in garlic and grill me to perfection, wide-hipped wonder bitch. Slap me down hard like you mean it. There’s a constant leaving in all pretty things and she’s not even pretty. When alone she cannot see herself. The dead fish see their bodies in every shined surface of kitchen when church is in dimness and we’re back to homeless. But for now here I lie and maybe I’m hiding. It’s hot on the Motown-church lunch-table underbelly. I’m heavy and sleepy. I want to be delicious. I want to be preciously eaten and comfortable somewhere inside of the body. But mostly I’m here and the church bells are starting, though they promised not to. It’s time for god classes. Everyone’s wearing fake pearls and floral-print dresses. A girl at my table whispers into herself: Here come the jesus-faced birds straight from planting their in-fashion tulip bulbs deep in the earth. Did you know they can drive you to madness? The women and the tulips. There’s a crassness in their blinking. Their sight is hinging. If I were some sort of prophet I might start singing. Sounds scratch at my throat. They’re like birds that way. But only silence won’t leave you alone. Indigestible thrum. The women are done with their prayers. They all have daughters and all of their daughters have beautiful hair. I want to wrap petals in nylon with them for my daughter’s underwear drawer. But I don’t have a daughter. If I did I wouldn’t know her. Diamond-prettied hands slip under the table—the floral-dreaming women always find me. None of them see I am gum even though I’m unborn and unruly. They think themselves lucky to pray with me. They think I know something they can’t, something brought up from the deep. They think there’s a deep. A dozen Chanel-lipsticked mouths soundlessly open and close. Their Palmolive palms beg for whispering songs. In a butter knife’s mirror, the flesh of their eyelids looks rosy and stung. I should tell them I’m no prophet, that notes sung in whispers from women like me are just torn-up trinkets; I only make fragments of sound that are later compressed to Amen. But because I’m myself I shriek: I’m today’s martyr—please please I need to be dead. 


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10. April 2014

we take the clock from the wall and my head stops hurting

when you touch me now I know eternities

some of them spent under forest fires

 -

at intervals I’m still and then backward and forward

which is why I like sitting at the edge of the bed

 -

when I stare at the wall, no time passes

and nothing moves but me when I am thinking

on the crooked toilet seat in the crooked bathroom

 -

I like the way the moon comes through the window

how it hangs itself idly on the cool edge of bathtub

because it could be singing to itself

 -

when I lie in bed my hands go under your pillow

the moon hasn’t moved but the sky doesn’t know this

you’re sleeping and silent and so always have been

 -

I keep seeing a circular interstate moving above me

when I trace your figure’s lines they start to loop

 -

the fan above my face reads LASKO, asks: what woke us up?

this happens every lifetime and I answer her: who cares

 -

under her thrum spins a demand for me to say sorry

for translating the map of time poorly

as my eyes are made for reading or creating routes

 -

and hours pictured all at once are bound to look road-like

but the roads don’t exist, there’s just a dark pool and I’m in it

 -

in the bath I hold my breath under water to mimic myself

there’s a noise in my head I didn’t hear before this

 -

if I want to stand still I must say it cannot be my heartbeat

when I run out of air, the rushing almost tips my skull

 -

although I’m now part of the bathtub you lift me

your palms turn my body into a red muscled salmon

bloody and pleading: it’s too hot here I’m heavy

 -

toss me back please please into the icy sound


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9. April 2014

They’re playing Motown and only that over the speakers. The ceilings are arched and the hall is a church in its center. These are the spaces so wide they turn godly and souls feed the homeless, some soulless. There is a hole in my head. A leaking sound enters my ears but everything else is filling instead. Just look. I want to empty. I keep trying to say this but somebody eating many tables back is screaming MAKE ME. On my plate there’s bread and fish. The bells aren’t going and they wont go. There’s gum under the table. I want to be able to reach it and suddenly I can and I do and it’s hard and my fingers can’t tell it ever was sweet. I can feel where the teeth went; I can feel where they’d meet. When I think I am gum I have already surrendered. Now I live under tables. I am upside-down and backward but my brain wont stay still. Soon enough the earth flips and I’m right side up again but still stuck to the underbelly. Gravity is back to original flavor and pissed off and pushing me into the surface of pain like a salmon. I’m grill-bound. There is a smile like Rachael Ray grinding her teeth right above me. Who’s preparing my body? And for whom? The cultures that make up my flavor and body croon: Cover me in garlic and grill me to perfection, wide-hipped-wonder bitch. Slap me down hard like you mean it. There is a constant leaving in all pretty things and she’s not even pretty. The fish bodies in back find themselves alone once the house carries dimness and we’re back to homeless. So now here I lie and maybe I’m hiding. It’s hot on the Motown church lunch table underbelly but everyone’s gum now, rag-covered, ragged gum. We love it and there are so many of us, mostly the feeders in floral but also us eaters. I want to be delicious. I want to be somewhere inside of the body. But mostly I’m here and the church bells are starting, although they promised not to. It’s time for adult classes and everyone has fake pearls and wears wire-framed glasses. Here come the jesus faced lovely birds straight out of planting this year’s in-fashion tulip bulbs. Did you know they can drive you to madness? There’s a crassness in their blinking. If I were some sort of prophet I might start singing. Sounds scratch at my throat. They’re like birds that way. But only silence will never leave you alone. The women are done with their prayers. I want to wrap petals in nylon with them for my daughter’s underwear drawers. But I don’t have a daughter. If I did I wouldn’t know her. Their eyes ask me for a whisper or a song. I should tell them I am not a prophet, and whispers and singing on women are gaudy. But because I am me I shriek please please I want to be dead. 


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2. April 2014

The mind is planted

long before it opens, like a tulip—

 -

which must be buried in November

and forced to bear the weight

of all December, callous bulb

refusing to just break

until it’s worth

at least its weight in cold.

 -

The best blooms try to catch

the eye like plume or fire

then die: sorry victims

of beauty, the bulb-breaking virus

selfish weeding its miracle cruelty

right out of history.

 -

What lives on earth is

never free, but travelling

by the force of its own

momentum—which takes us

wherever it wants us,

which makes us.

 -

We make things, too. Tulips

in our hands are living textiles

driven by their deadliest

expense—too great a burden

to keep any one worth it

very long in existence.

 -

What survives is a streamlined

version of nature. Mistakes,

however exquisite, just visit.

The bright-littered bulbs

are too weak to enjoy being spent.

You can’t tell a tulip it’s worth

all the money in Holland—

that’s not its intent.

 -

The ether was once a more violent

blue, the moon huge and daunting,

even truth is conditioned by time.

No wonder Dutch still-lifes

seem recklessly idealistic:

life can’t sustain anything fine

without going ballistic. 


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2. April 2014

Betty has her hair tied up with a long, black ribbon.

She pushes Archie off the road into some bushes, straddling his back.

Betty’s smile is crazy.

Through an opening in branches: Veronica’s profile.

She is impossibly skinny in a red, buttoned dress.

Betty holds Archie’s head facedown in the grass.

His arms splay out.

Standing with her knees bent oddly, Betty pulls Archie back up.

They walk down a path with flowers and a wooden fence.

They move through shade.

Their shadow outlines are stark against a bright sky.

Betty’s poodle skirt looks strange around her body in the dark.

Betty’s face is angry; Archie looks surprised.

Betty looks surprised; Archie’s face is angry.

He yells directly at her eyes beneath the arc made by a tree.

He leans over her body until it bends backward.

Betty holds one arm over her eyes.

Archie crosses his arms.

Betty’s body folds like an empty sack of flour as he leaves.

Betty walks alone and all the clouds converge behind her.

Veronica comes to her. She wears white gloves and no jacket.

Betty looks unhappy and lost.

Veronica’s head sports an exclamation and a question mark.

Betty won’t look at her.

Veronica walks away with both hands fisted.

Betty follows her to a wishing well, where Veronica sits.

Even bent over itself, Veronica’s figure is beautiful.

Betty gives her a vindictive look as she leaves.

Even alone, Veronica looks pleased with everything.

Betty runs toward Archie, her arms reaching out to him.

When they’re face to face, Betty is sweating.

Archie yells right into her mouth.

Betty looks sad and dozens of question marks cover her head.

Still angry, Archie grabs her by the arm.

Still angry, Archie pulls her down the path with him.

He is not looking at her.

She is smiling again.


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2. April 2014

There are roses on the kitchen counter.

Veronica’s mother sports a pastel blue blazer.

She is wrapping bouquets in white paper.

The phone rings, Veronica answers.

She wears a ketchup red cap. Her skirt is the color of mustard.

There is yelling on the other end.

She hangs up the phone with a question mark over her head.

Her mother fills a vase with water at the sink.

One face in frame: Veronica looks devious.

Her mother drops the vase and Veronica screams.

Their two figures are seen from outside, through a picture window.

 -

SOON…

Veronica is at the library and angry.

An old man peruses the shelves.

The sign above her says in all caps: READ A BOOK.

 -

LATER…

A mansion sits still in the darkness.

The stars are out.

 -

AND LATER…

Veronica is pretty on her yellow bedspread.

Her mother comes in with a tired face on.

Veronica wears happy and awake.

The mirror behind her reflects nothing.

Her mother puts her hands to her head as she walks away.

 -

AND SO THRU THE NIGHT…

The moon comes up over the mansion like sunrise, too big for a moon.

 -

AND FINALLY…

A class full of students, a hand going up.

Three faces in frame: Veronica, Veronica, Veronica.

She hasn’t brushed her hair.

Everybody is laughing but she doesn’t look.

Her head is down.

She is watching her own torso.


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2. April 2014

The day is bright over a red roof.

The garage door is yellow with little black windows.

 -

Archie is running. Jets of air trail him. He sweats.

WAK!

He collides with a small, perfect body.

Betty is flying through air.

Archie passes her by, yelling.

Archie is gone and Betty lies still in the bushes.

 -

Bees suddenly surround Betty’s blonde angrily.

Her skinny arms swat air. She screams.

Betty runs, her head in a cloud.

The cloud says things: BZZZ, BZZZ, BZZZ

Then even the cloud leaves.

 -

Inside, Betty is crying, her face in her hands.

Her mother is holding her.

They has the same color hair.

 -

MEANWHILE…

Veronica and Archie are eating breakfast on a patio tiled pink.

The dishes are covered in silver.

Veronica looks both bored and angry and wears many rings.

She has on the shortest skirt ever made.

Archie stands up suddenly and leaves.

Veronica’s head is smoking.

Inside is fire. Her skull leaks.

Archie sobs as he’s running.

 -

Betty is in her foyer and covered in bandages.

Archie bursts in, holds her body to his by the neck.

Over Betty’s head hover three question marks.

Archie gets on his knees and looks straight at the ceiling, hands clasped.

He can’t stop crying. His tears go up in the air.

Now Betty is smiling.

Archie holds her whole head in his arms and sobs again.

Behind his wet face, Betty looks delighted.

Archie leaves her surrounded by hearts.

 -

In the front yard, Betty holds a jar of honey.

She smiles as the bees fly toward her.

She laughs as they sting her hands and arms and chest.


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30. March 2014

we take the clock from the wall and my head stops hurting

when you touch me now I know eternities

some of them spent under forest fires

 -

at intervals I’m still and then backward and forward

which is why I like sitting at the edge of the bed

 -

when I stare at the wall no time passes

and nothing moves but me when I am thinking

on the crooked toilet seat in the crooked bathroom

 -

I like the way the moon comes through the window

because it could be singing to itself

 -

when I lie in bed my hands go under the pillow

you’re sleeping and silent and so always have been

 -

the spinning fan over me reads LASKO and asks: who woke us up?

this happens every lifetime and I answer her: who cares

 -

I keep seeing a circular interstate moving above me

when I trace your figure’s lines they start to loop

so I get in the bath and hold my breath under water

 -

with my eyes and mouth shut tight it comes to me:

beneath this world I’m swimming and I see the sky

 -

although I’m now part of the bathtub you lift me

your palms turn my body into a red muscled salmon

bloody and pleading: it’s too hot here I’m heavy

 -

toss me back please please into the icy sound

 


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