"Qui vincit? (medicamina)"
This house could hold more empty seats but the people
who would sit in them were put away long ago.
There is no work here bring out your dead no bodies left
to pass the piss-test, close the factory down.
Everything is not what you read, old colic torques to form
new cancer a different diagnosis to ponder,
collections of atypical things eventually typify something
— backpain, beatings, boredom, parties —
get help any time you want to welcome old pain back.
Fill the gap-year wound with tiny holes
you poke in everything else, no chemical solution to your God-
sized problem (even if I say it with a little ‘g’).
You’re young you’re cute you got your own teeth the tank ain’t
close to half-empty yet, plenty left to hock
from home before you hit the riverbank set up camp & bed down
in the shade of men with beards that crawl
and eyes that never move. He’ll take you in and keep you dry
spitshine your new cancer, help you slip
the lure of fools that every moment is momentous. Leave a few months
sidle by, shine illusion warm so you can cake inside the
lullaby of your greatest highs. Want no more than the one thing he gives
for the one thing you have to give to him, warmth
a mouth your grip on the rung cos you gotta have faith to begin with
if you wanna question God. Blindfold yourself
get a mystery tattoo let new love put its mark on you, look down,
grass pools red beneath blotting missteps and rotten deeds,
smoothing urgent rush to breathe. Brace
each time you breach a surface, snap back to a memory of not waking
up to or from an O.D., half-lips mumbling dusky
‘I took nuthins’. Remember, you were not plucked from fading orbits,
you have the constitution and perseverance
of a rash. You are the flightless moth that eats shed skin, and the shedder
too, you are unstoppable impenetrable, kevlar
to dull bullets yet prickable like a day-old balloon. What do you say
when you travel so far that no one you know
can hear you? Do you mourn the national breakdown? Rage at federal
fugue? Tip this chemic coercion to a magical
metastasis? You are no longer soft spoken now you are roughly spat
panhandled from cavitations and rooted to riverbanks
a ghoul that staggers through gaps in family photographs never having
taken that first step back. You ask too much of water
we can only get so clean, no nudge or gentle cheat will reverse our cycle now.
We leer into morning exhausted from vigilance to a script
we have long absorbed as canon so know you are no more than meat, tilt
your nose to witness starlings clot like clefs and peck at
the threads of your disastrous decisions. Blink away respite like moons repel
satellites, crack the back-ups fitted to flood you
with empty memory that weighs you down to drown on dry land in fluid
expressed from deep within your own chest. I’ll be
your gravity your creeping beauty the vine that hugs and dresses you best.
I’ll be the first thing people see — a recognition —
blinked away to tears. Let them go blind, where mind goes man will follow
and no man owns the sky so look up not down
where you prick and bleed . . . sleep and let your cancers breathe