Deathmask

Perhaps unsurprisingly given that this piece was sort of inspired by the movie ‘Mishima’, the line ‘this decaying angel’ is based on the title of one of Yukio Mishima’s books as its usually translated into English ‘The Decay of the Angel’.

 

When Egypt buried kings
,Pharaohs, they called them,
(dwellers in the great house
of the body
)
they crafted death masks
unearthly beauty
they could wear over the fabric
and decay
:to show the Gods how perfectly
to craft replacements
like Mishima
I will try to carve my body
from the death mask
this decaying angel
mould brass muscle
over disobedient flesh
burn and file
the excess of years
the failure on failure built
recast pose and sweat
in supple forge
i will polish the skin with whetstones
smooth as the mask
smooth as marble
bleak and lifeless
lead painted face

Typo

Again this has been posted here before, but I do like it. What is strange to me is that I have a memory attached to this piece, and someone else may read it and attach it to a different memory. Even though the words are the same…

somewhere in this layered
cubist collage of touch
it is possible
if one peers from the right angle
to separate
three bodies
pry apart the tessellating edges –
divide this flesh into separate forms
but for a moment
we
linked together
a lifeline drawn in blood
pencil vein
for a brief pulse
a quartz vibration
there is something akin to perfection
in this movement
but
then you fold back
into the mental space
the thoughts return
of how his body is such
styled and flowing
copperplate in the square-nibbed pen
and red ink so distinctive
those complex German adjectives
seem to ripple across him
he is a living calligraphy
and she so
clear and radiant
freehand
she bends light towards her
like glass
it follows the waveforms
of the boundaries between
her and not-her
of what is sadness to touch
and what is nothing
your body is so
covered with corrections
rewrites and editing marks
the edges all noise
ink bleeds into the white fibres
from
the shouting of the fights
that made a simple skin
into this memoir, battleground
each skip dull version of
scratches between the grooves of the record
he holds it up to the light to test if it is warped
tosses it away
this is something too far from perfect

Three Questions: part 1

Food

after the third day, she starts to feel light-headed all the time. Her head is floating slightly above the rest of her world; still joined, but tenuously. She drinks small glasses of chilled water that burn her throat to keep her stomach full, but the light-headedness will not go away. Every couple of hours she checks her face in the bathroom mirror. The mirror is getting dirty and stained, she hasn’t cleaned the apartment in several weeks. Her skin looks dull, verging on unhealthy. Perhaps there is a tiny bit less fat around the cheeks than before? She checks her thighs, her stomach, the backs of her arms. Each maybe is a little smaller than yesterday. She will keep doing this. Perhaps just until she looks like the boys and girls in the bars downtown. Until someone beautiful stares at her and cannot pull away. That one boy. How romantic it will be when they are sitting over coffee together in some quiet café one day, and she tells him how she made herself beautiful for him.

on the fourth day she takes an antihistamine at a friend’s place and almost throws up. Blood flows into her head in a wide hot rush, making her dizzy. The edges of her vision start to turn purple like she’s blacking out and she staggers into her friend’s kitchen on legs that feel like thin strips of flexible steel, bending at random. Columns of numbers are pulsing through her head; calorie counts of all the different foods slowly mouldering in her fridge. If she picks right, perhaps she can eat one thing that will keep her alive without taking in too many calories. Cucumber, lettuce. Something that is food on the outside, water on the inside. This long line of thoughts follows her like a vapour trail all the way to the ground.

later that evening she rides downtown on her bike. It is almost pure white except for the stretched out French logo on the crossbar. The gears must be broken though, or maybe the tires are flat, because she can’t drag herself up the hill. Eventually she dismounts and pushes the bike up, her body angled against it so she is close to falling into the sidewalk. She can almost see the noise pushing through her, creating this sick feeling like a circular headache; the head that’s not even joined to her body any more.

that night, as a kind of torture of encouragement, she watches a documentary about chocolate. An expensive slideshow arrangement with close up shots of assortments and rich thick brown moving liquid fills the screen from edge to edge. Seeing the figures spooning chocolate into each other fills her with a horrible jolting nausea.

on the fifth morning, there is a sharp pain in her stomach, or maybe her kidneys, that will not go away. She tries stretching, but that makes it slightly worse. Even though her nails are short, one breaks off while she is cleaning the bathroom sink again. The apple that was left out on the counter five days ago has flies all over it, and there is a sick sweet smell from some food going bad somewhere else. She lies down on the kitchen floor and curls into a ball that stops the pain in her stomach for a little while.

Do not post your elbow

~a poem for Tumblr

 

Do not post pics of your elbow because

Guys be like ‘you have such beautiful elbows’

And before you know it

You’re posting nudes and

Your anus is on the internet forever

– after you die, your anus will be reblogged and fapped over unto the end of time. Thus sayeth the internet.

Do not believe any guy who says ‘I respect you’

This does not mean ‘I respect you’

– it means nothing

Do not post pics of yourself smoking pot because

the clouds settle and are gone and then

it just takes someone malicious

– things begin to crumble

Do not ever try to eat a boiled egg in a sexy way. This is not possible.

Do find someone to talk to who you can trust to be sensible and not try to get in your pants. And do remember they won’t be around forever.

Do not try to think

‘Will the me who is 20 or 25 or 30 regret this?’

that person does not exist, or is still being tinkered with

think ‘Am I doing this because I want to, and do I realize it will exist forever?’

Do not get drunk at school

You do it because your friends told you too

or / because you’re depressed

It won’t fix your friends. It won’t fix you

Do try things that are new if you can find people you trust to help you through it. Don’t try acid with a bunch of people who never tried acid before

Just don’t

Do think for a year before you get a tattoo

Do not get tattoos of band names, boyfriend names, girlfriend names, guitar names, brand names, printer names, coffee filter names or pet names

Do not get tattoos of stars

Do not get tattoos of roman numerals for that number your friends thought you should all get because you’ll be friends forever right? Right?

Do not get a tattoo that can’t be covered up if you get a fancy job or you start to hate it someday

Do be afraid of some things, especially people who encourage you by saying ‘You’re not afraid, are you?’

Do not be too quick to react. Some things are misunderstandings. Words cannot be recaptured. If you lose a friend, you may never get them back.

Do not be ashamed of yourself. Do not be ashamed of sleeping in late, of growing out of your clothes, of whatever you did last night. Do not be ashamed of needing to relax, of wanting to be alone, of changing your mind.

Do not be afraid to admit your mistakes, to grow out of your old habits. We are a little like Wikipedia. When there’s a mistake, we correct it, we grow, and we move on.

Please do not cut yourself again. There are other ways to let your pain free without losing anything precious. Call me.

Think before you click

This Year’s Child

This is sort of my 2013 in review poem. I read back over some of my old posts and things that happened this year, and this is what I came up with. Some things are notably absent, please don’t judge me on that score!

 

This year

I have taken approximately 3000 pills

This year

Seamus Heaney died, as did a piece of Beowulf. So.

This year

I have lived a generic existence. Unlabelled, flat, unrippled

No quakes, no storms. No roll of thunder

This year

Nobody has died

This year

I have taken someone’s small bruised world

And studied it like an orient pearl

This year I learned what it was like to be a pretty girl

And I feel bad for them

This year I was tongue tied

I raged at the inadequacy of paper

This year I understood the agony of movement

I laid in bed for days at a time

This year I was frenetic, fragmented, fractious, fictitious, fractured

This year I bought a dictionary (I have read up to ‘F’)

This year I trembled, I teetered

I was hebenon, iocane

I thought about the median lethal dose of caffeine and cigarettes

I was soothed by amorphous jellyfish

This year I met someone I liked

And she meandered away

Into the waning December

Just.Burn

I wrote this a while ago but realized I hadn’t posted it. This was written about someone I felt sorry for…

 

I saw it all while she spoke. It flickered past in that space between thought and vision, the silver screen of the mind. I saw her parents never quite register her presence. She burned brighter, hoping to turn them like moths towards her. All that sound converted to a humming light. She jumped and danced and twirled: nothing nothing nothing and then. Changed. Subtly that first time, a lengthening, a darkening. Perhaps this creature they will notice. No? Perhaps this? Perhaps this? Each change more and more rapid the phenotypes blurring in their succession such that, like a film strip, only change was visible, motive, highlighted.

The creature became one of change, its only existence in its own transience. The film strip came loose, flailed against the light. I saw that boy gripped her arm made her feel safe things begin to slow like a carousel ending she could have stepped off could have but did not step off and now too tight not safe that boundary between safe and imprisoned crossed. Saw how he held her back saw that he did not stop when she said no and she clung to something safe to be in love with that could never hit back or leave. I saw her love the music and clutch it to herself as she turned and turned again in the maze. No! That way goes back where you came! She stamped and shrieked into the crosshatched shadows. I saw her get up a thousand times, saw her never leave the bed. She did not know why, just that she had to go on. Each day on and on and never why just grinding down the enamel of days. But not knowing why is somehow not going on. Some small part of her knew that she was beautiful and was sad at the stretches of blood like drying raindrops. I saw every moment fractured, turned inside-out, reflected and half-reflected, splintered and reformed.

She had forgotten my name. From something so small it came like a lash. I realized that she hadn’t meant it, she hadn’t seen the shadowplay, the marionette all tangled in its own string. But that was just it. It was unthinking. This glass creature so focused on not breaking, every moment created and destroyed, eventually is bound to leave fragments in its wake. Stark sparkles they attract us like sharks to blood. So much blood. None of us ever mean it. We never think at all, any more. And that is how.