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[Editor’s note: Please be sure to read this poem on a computer monitor or full-size tablet rather than a smartphone, which will not accurately reproduce its formatting.]
In the market of ideas, of meat—in the teeth of need—you will never be happy with
your body—it is not the right body—the shame of having to appear
in it—as if always a few steps behind it—or like a man standing
at the edge of a small river which muscles-by unaware—slipping by—under
reflection—too fast for its own good—making you a fault in perception—a catastrophe to
which a body is joined—disjoined—all headgear, undergear, tied, trussed, confused—
wearing your arms and legs as if waiting for security to find you—shaven then unshaven—
a bit traditional though all at once too raw too sexed-up—shivering portal and
seeing yourself there, features amplified, distorted by normalcy—what you are dying to be
eluding you again, a hole in time, in the consolations of light—
sublime heavy weapon of appearance being detonated right there where your eye
meets your eye. I see you. How your apparition shrinks from itself.
It knows there was another body it was intended for, another century another love
another consolation—another sentence in which to place the heavy “I”—another
sex race core time—a different artifice—a different flow of faults. What are you dying
to be. How un-
knowable do you feel, heavy ordnance with no where to hit. The thing about history is
it drains it flows but has no borders. Is not this soft smartly turned-out
green grove of summer—no places in it for insemination, iridescence, work—
this being not yet you imitating it, this tiny nationstate which is
you, your you. You can’t understand it. You can look up at the sublime with its
massive firm edges—albeit under erosion—who cares—you won’t be around to see it—
the altered thing—you who so need to be altered
that this could be acceptably a you—this thing which cuts loose from an other’s regard—the
right ghost to be—yes that—a want wanting to be all folds all energy—
an image filling itself in as almost but not entirely matter. It’s late summer.
We will never be happy with the body. Will exchange it for another. Will
change its months name legs arms voice—will shave self off—will watch breasts grow
as the buttonwood grows. The sublime is so alone. It watches us. Have you failed to
self? Are you still hidden, are you too exposed—it’s hard to tell—
perfect losses both ways—too much body, too little—voice too deep or too
void—voice too full of space like a small nail trying to hold in too large
a weight . . . . Erect or not erect enough. Oh are you built yet as you would be
built? Caution: you will make yourself anew. Caution: you will not like the new
one either. After a while you will need to do it again. There is no body which will
suffice. It’s a theology—your mucous—it’s a postindustrial cock or a derivative
cunt—are you getting ahead? Careful: you will get ahead of your self. Indeed, you are
ahead of yourself. I love you for that, says your best friend. I love you for your
satisfaction—after months so dry, rain came—so quiet at first we did not know what
to make of it. It tapped each thing as if a blind creature coming to see. We
were where it was meant to arrive. Weren’t we? It went by too fast. Hard and fast. A kind
of porn. I saw you feel your new ass. You like it but then I saw you wonder whether,
right there where the idea of grandeur taxied down your piste of a brain, ready to go
but on queue—who knows how long it will be before you take off—and by then, wouldn’t it
be old hat . . . .
Warning: by then a new idea will have popped up. As if the runway weren’t long
enough or the sky too small. Change! The debt ceiling has shown itself to us. The un-
doing has shown its cheek, the lovely small of its back, the laminate skin of its sex
appeal—there may be nothing else behind these words—caution—they too
seek to be changed, they feel unseen, unheard, mis-shaped, mis-
understood. Caution: you can neither be filled nor consumed. Caution: you are not
beautiful—there is no such thing—you are a forced withdrawal from an occupied
terrain—that’s what a body is—once you are out you want to go back in—not to the
same place exactly—but back, back in—the same defiling of your corpse so that you
can be re-
surrected as a new you-and-me thing. Look a small mudwasp is building a nest.
Its activity wrenches the open air. There will be but this one. It will abandon its young
never to return. It is doing a form of research. The mud is powdery like the foundation I
have just applied, looking so complete to myself in this mirror in this instant before the
light changes and
I must begin again.
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