Image: Philippe Put
There was a time when I wore a suit and a tie to pick my mother up at the airport 
We waited near the runway and waved at the planes as they took off into the sky
We lived in the tropics, but we wore fur hats and wool suits and on the bus the ladies looked glamorous as they wrapped their heads in scarves like Jackie Kennedy
Let me show you everything in my room: here is a cage with two tweeting birds, here is a vanity table, a bed with my various white shirts and dark coats stretched across it
I look out the window and into the sea and compose a suicide note on my typewriter
I need more time to write a shorter suicide note
Instead I write everything, blame everyone from my mother to my wife to my sixth grade soccer coach who cut me from the team to Mr. Valtzer my seventh grade teacher who picked me up by my tie and shoved me against the wall to Mr. Baylin the English teacher who used to stick his hands in my pants to tuck my shirt in and his fingers would linger far too long on my ass to Robin who I accidentally knocked over in the 9th grade and who got a concussion and who could not speak for six weeks to the therapist who told me that I was afraid of every emotion in the universe to the girl who broke my heart in college because I was too stupid to understand I was not supposed to call her the day after she kissed me or the next day or the next day and to the doctor who nearly operated on my penis in order to fulfill his quota of monthly operations, etc… 
I take a break from my suicide note and drink coffee and smoke a cigarette and eat hard, tasteless bread with butter in my undershirt
I step out onto the balcony and look through my binoculars and the city looks like the same exact thing every single day
It's a city of cardboard and everyone inside of it wants to float across the ocean until they land in the wastewater plant of some other nation, some other dream inside of some other body that did not change along with me 
The bodega stayed the same and the skyline stayed the same and the sea stayed the same and my relationship to the void stayed always and impossibly the same while I kept moving from one world to another
Who was the beast I plucked out of the cage
Who was the beast I dropped over the balcony and onto the sidewalk as I yawned and thought about all of the disasters occurring inside of my body
There is a wound moving inside of my body, an original wound, moving slowly, as if through a magnifying glass  (tell me more about this, doctor)
Oh I like to see you struggle: between decadence and virility, between virility and femininity, between masculinity and clairvoyance, between godlessness and transparency
I don't know how to measure this:
I have run out of all the imperialist shampoos; I only pay $6 for my shampoo when I used to pay $60 for my shampoo.  I look vulgar lately.  I wear my wife's lipstick as I put on my white shirt and tie and slick back my hair in the style of every other man in every other city in every other office in every other corner of this stupid fucking world
Natural beauty, I write on the mirror with your lipstick, is not nearly as desirable as artificial beauty
I slip on your pantyhose, love, I slip on your panties, I wear your lipstick as I put on my white shirt and grey tie and set out to destroy myself once more in this city that is like a staircase that winds up my body, a staircase that starts in my toes and slips up my leg and through my groin and through my intestines and up my neck and I vomit it out into the cage where you lock me up when you need to use me for the replaceable services I provide
Oh it feels so cool to stick these pantyhose over my face
Is this the right word, pantyhose? 
I don't know the right words for the things you put on your body
I slip your pantyhose over my face and stare at myself in the mirror, at my contorted nose and I am like the Golem of Prague only I live in the tropics which are in the middle of a crumbling midwestern city where I will be buried under a mountain of ice
I have nothing to do except look into the eyes of people who do not love me
I have nothing to do I want to suffocate myself in the most painless way possible
Since they burned down the department stores, Chicago looks like an atrophied little village in a province
Love and loneliness fill you with different types of illusions
Loneliness fills you with the desire for people to tell you how you should live your life
Love, on the other hand, fills you with the desire for everyone to see you living your life
We went to the store to buy coffee and there were so many types of coffee and I wanted to beat the crap out of the guy who insisted on hearing the story of every type of coffee, where it was roasted, how it was roasted, was it locally roasted or was it roasted in Italy, what flavors was it infused with, so many stupid questions about the coffee that it was almost impossible to believe that just a few days before I had been in a city where there was no coffee
They had run out of coffee
No one knew when they would get more coffee
18,000 children die every day because of hunger and malnutrition and 850 million people go to bed every night with empty stomachs
(how does that make you feel, compadre)
Here we eat flesh we splash around in buckets of milk we slurp up intestines we salivate over raw meat encased in the tubing of a sausage
Sometimes we laugh when we see them starving in their cages and sometimes we bring them little nibs of salamis and sometimes we bring them the horrendous crackers you wanted me to have a whole bag of the first day I visited your city
I doused them in jam so as to forget that this was your life: a bag of tasteless crackers you were actually excited about 
You could not afford jam
You had a starving child in your arms
His chin sunk into your chest and he begged your body to shake him out of his flesh so he could move more swiftly from deathfulness to lifefulness
But at least my hands are clean
I doused them with hand sanitizer
The hand sanitizer was in an enormous container in the waiting room of my therapist's office
My therapist assured me it is not my responsibility that my neighbors are suffering
She assured me that it is not my responsibility to respond when X wants to know where I am who I am with what I am doing who I am doing it with what he is wearing what she is thinking who he is touching what she is reading what he is smelling but of course it's all my fucking fault
To be alive is a spiritual mission in which you must get from birth to death without killing yourself
It's not my fault that you are sick and you are dying because I am also sick and I am also dying
It's just that my death is preventable and yours is inevitable
And unlike you my ignorance keeps me from being implicated in the system in which I am involucrated
I could list all the ways I might possibly die but it would be more useful to spend the time telling you that it is not my fault that your life is so fucking miserable
On the other hand, it is absolutely my fault that my life is so fucking miserable
I touch myself nightly just so I can make sure my organs still work
And there is no one here to make my life feel any less mediocre than it already is
I want to talk, today, about my overdevelopment
But instead I pay someone to wipe the dust from my bookshelves and tables
Every body I look at looks absolutely the same as myself
This is what's it like to be a defenseless animal
You die because you have failed to install the necessary equipment into your body
You die because you are a counter-revolutionary stuck in the body of an angel
You live because it's too hard to not survive the torture and the interrogation
First your feet start to live, then your legs starts to live, then your hands and arms and mouth and groin and the whole stinking body decides that it will refuse to die
The wind on your face is brutally absent
You can't get back your body anymore
You have sacrificed it to the gurgles, the murmurs, the mountains of foam and dirt that haunt every word I ever write
You are the god of hunger in a cage that grows as you get smaller
Death is a mechanic at Jiffy Lube, Juanita
Death is a sales clerk at Target, little Sally
There's a dead Floridian in your hair, Juanita
There's a dead Nebraskan in your Revloned hair little Sally
Your Revloned hair, Juanita
Your horse-hair wig, little Sally
There are 400 mutilated bodies that destroy my sleep, Juanita
It's bed-time, little Sally
It's Clonozepam time, Juanita
It's time, Little Sally, to drink the warm, purple milk they sell at Target, Juanita
We drink it with our Xanax, Juanita
We drink it with our absinthe, Juanita
We drink it with our Wellbutrin, Juanita
We drink and drink, Juanita
We drink it with our Trazadone and Seroquel, Juanita
The sales clerk from Target pisses all over our purple bodies
She digs a hole in the aisle where they sell linens, Juanita
She takes a belt from the men's wear section and ties it around my neck
My spume is on everything in the entire store, Juanita
This is my capitalist fantasy, Juanita
Enrich my body with uranium, Juanita
Enrich my body with purple milk, little Sally
Death is a salesclerk from Target, Juanita
She swallows us in the fruit of the vine
She buries us on time
Frogs fly out of her mouth, Juanita
It won't end, Juanita
This poem won't ever end, Juanita
Your psoriasis-covered skin, Juanita
The worms in your ugly mouth, little Sally
The mouth in your ugly mouth, Juanita
The mouth in the mouth of your mouth, little Sally
The mouth in the mouth in the mouth in the mouth in the mouth in the mouth in the mouth in the mouth in the mouth in the mouth of your rotten, carcass mouth, Juanita