Editors' Note: This poem accompanies Lynn Melnick's interview with Carmen Giménez Smith as part of National Poetry Month.
My Body
My body unhinges at psyche and suffers from                                        
a narcissistic punch-drunkenness,
an exhaustive catalog of indulgence
between paroxysms of anxiety and guilt,
occasionally out of range, braver than the colony
pounding pavement into perpetuity.
A fan of heat, I sometimes celebrate good times by
trash talking the fountain of youth, straight jeering.  
The night peters out along with my resolve to self-improve.
I have nearly twelve coins worth of goodwill to spread
over my whole natural life: the indulgence cost me hours      
of sleepless remorse; it was black and leaden and complex.
I live on the corner of identity and shadow,     
one true-false  away from infiltration.
I grew up an infinite sinkhole of envy   
and grunting want grew up profligate   
something of a gambler. Part one, the gaining on you
and part two is the ship cast loose like the gull’s filthy feather.
Oh my god, this bodyboat is a dream
I promised myself one day.
I grew up on the edge of your electrified fence             
like a weed, your melodic beddy-bye harshes
through doors. I loved/hated your mom.
Once we were a suburban gang 
and like that, like magnets,  
a new classification to resist and abandon.
I was one and two and three. I was four   
and five. I was all the numbers until forty-three.
I was a first, an only. I was last.                   
I was the succession of queens.
I was five seven and on and on with the gov.
I was t-minus nihilism.                        
I was someone’s most recent.          
I was ten, was halves I discard for the current. 
I am fire, trade fire for maternity,
maternity for majesty—how sure and freeing     
to let go of shackles to trade them in for shackles.        
I open the door, get opened by riot.
I raise the flag, bombarded by episode five.
I just make it more explicit in your face.          
I want a Diet Pepsi: it's too late for Diet Pepsi.                        
I want a baby but only the broad strokes.       
I'm getting old and forgetful, sickly, but try and test
my decline. Steely and pilloried, I'm a yeller
but pardoned because of childhood. I'd like to sleep but not yet.
I'd like the Italian actor but he seems an effort beyond my capacity.
I’d love to get at the core but it’s sectioned away from my inspection
where I pretend to negotiate. I want to barter
but it’s outside my purview, don’t get me started.      
I’d like to start but my mouth is guarded by the first tongue.   
The caveat: heteroglossia loaded with brutality,            
so I’ll just make it more explicit in your face               
Should have been born golddigger
or with less oddity, less diagnosis.
The self, that teeny-weeny self, the self wants to be      
unburdened of its bulges. If only I wrote about robots,
wore my scarves and if only my schooling—
but I don’t give a shit about robots.
Instead I’m still caught up
with the lyric, that working class bauble
of aesthetics: an accessible affect anyone can attain.