On the pleasures of being lied to

dreams of cinemas and churches and
where the people once were – empty
now we fill the spaces between spaces
countless coughs in crammed corridors
attentions misdirected by magic words
earth salted, unsowable
incongruous truths, convenience be damned
give me liberty or give us death
silver screens absent of light motions, horror worship

a patriot once whispered
upon her deathbed
to anyone listening,
still trying to understand
the things patriots say,
“you must know that
the child of freedom
is responsibility.
you must know that
freedom is a razor.”

On the pleasures of being lied to

Utnapishnim, whom the gods made immortal

Dream, always in dream, the past

The past returns, for me to change

And shape into a new future

At eight years old, I didn’t stick up

For dirty Benji Brown

At night, my eyes go wild

And I help him fight the fifth graders

He asks if we can be friends

At night, afloat, I smile and tell him thanks for asking

At sixteen years old, I wanted it so bad

So often and with everyone

At night, my lids tremble

And I take it slow and with curiosity

I make it like a sacred circle of trees

At night, under covers, with the bedroom windows open, it’s holy

At twenty-four years old, I thought I knew death

Was sure it had something to do with ego

At night, my temp drops

And I only hope to wake up in balance

And still breathing

At night, surrounded by pillows, I imagine life free of measurement and rulers

Dream, always in dream, the past

The past awaits, to shape me

Into these unknown, bifurcated futures

Utnapishnim, whom the gods made immortal

Gutenberg’s Dilemma

I used to draw pictures of eyeballs
upon every wall of the house.
They were mostly human,
but sometimes other animals
made the wall;
a goat, a panda, a snake.

I used them
as a reminder
that I might only exist
within the gaze of others.

Sometime in middle adulthood,
I began to draw the eyes
with their eyelids closed,
daring my sense of self
to evaporate accordingly.

It wasn’t until years later,
after examining the eyes
with the eyes of an old man,
that I realized how much time had passed
and how hard it is
to accurately capture anything
with one’s eyes closed.

Understandably,
my self grew weary of its story
without others’ input
and so I began experimenting
with mirrors and diaries.

Soon, my notes
grew to become a book.
I divided the chapters
by reflected body part: Ear, Shoulder, Heel, Wrist.

After finishing the book,
I used it to recreate myself
from prior words and illustrations.

Now, here we are,
reading myself into being.

I will be sure
to credit you
in the Acknowledgments.

Gutenberg’s Dilemma