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

Herculaneum

when you watch the sun blot out,
you lose yourself to stone*
and dirt
and bone
and hurt.

you lose yourself to the mirror
that shows you aren’t the hero,
that shows you without powers
or skills or knowledge
to save your people
from extinction.

your people need the sun,
the light,
the sky,
their people.

your people,
our people,
we watch the sun disappear
without a proper goodbye,
all together,
huddled,
a.d .lo.e
……………..
……………………….
……………………..
………………
…………………………..
………………..
…………………

*hat tip to https://theweesmirk.wordpress.com/2020/09/18/pompeii/ for this couplet as a prompt

Herculaneum

This is Your Fear On Drugs. Any Questions?

the hair
on fire
again

the hair
and the pants
and the hills
and the heart

it was all so confusing,
but at least we knew that
they weren’t in their real bodies

everything aflame
everything apain
everything thus named

shot in the back
fire fire
burning burning
the heart
the fire

voice of forced concern
“We don’t want to hurt you.”

the warm right
the caring
fire fire

“We’re afraid.”
“We’ve never seen this before.”
“We can’t imagine
anything will hurt you.”

the warm right
such concern
for some life
for some hearts
     so warm within
some chests
fire fire fire

the elite
call the elite
elite
the plebians call for
fire fire fire fire
pain

“Just relax,” they say,
“You don’t have to do this today.
You can go back to sleep, if you want.”

the warm right
the caring
the fire
the fire
always the fire
always the flame

This is Your Fear On Drugs. Any Questions?

My Burly Lifelike, Go!

oh, how she screams into the void.
oh, how she screams while we sit underneath,
enraptured and frightened,
entrapped by the spittle that flys from her mouth,

perhaps the fervor is contagious as well as holy?

how can i help it if i feel something?

i know now what this is
and what it means to me.

this is safety and surety and sanctity and sanity and surely strength and hammering fists in this world’s face will someday soon…

you must find your sister and tell her everything.

tell her you have heard
the good news being spread
from behind the podium.

tell your sister this is the news for her
and her daughters, too.
tell her this is every person’s news.
every person’s place is to
await the savior
under a full, red sun.

tell your sister that you love her.
tell her that
to disregard the news
is to disavow
her self.

show her.
show her the news.
let your sister and your mother, too,
come under the spell of righteous tyranny
spoken from a mandate
of wanton disregard for the unlike.

tell her all the promises made
and all the promises kept.

tell her about remaking the world in your image.

be caught up in the fire.
the parade won’t wait.

My Burly Lifelike, Go!