From I LIKE A LOOK OF AGONY
We get our feelings from each other.
Accumulation of an ice so fine I move it melting with a finger.
Shapes occur in breaking, then are pressed back into same.
The circle is the suff’ringest.
Each holy gong prolongs it.
I cut it into lines.
* * *
Punishment must not exist in any final way here.
Or punishment is this stretchy non-finality.
A man behind us snores incessantly in a loop, preventing us from sleep.
It’s a loose and muffled sound, as if he is producing an endless strip
of lace, with figures in it, and scalloped edges.
I feel my life go in and out of me.
* * *
And this brings me to Zuma, born a bird.
The spandex woven into certain maladies.
The way they snap back and repeat.
Are you a pretty girl?
I didn’t recognize you when I saw you.
This brings me back to Zuma, who’s my same age.
Zuma has adopted my husband’s mother’s affects—
her laugh, the sound of her voice, a few complimentary
things she has said to Zuma over the years.
She breaks this up with a wolf whistle,
and unpredictable screams that don’t seem mimicked
and don’t seem to correspond to the life
she’s currently living. I guess they seem remembered
but in a helpless way. She has a black tongue
that rises like a cashew and legs the color of rubber-bands.
I don’t know what parts it helps to tell you.
I screamed because I didn’t recognize you when I saw you.
I screamed because I could tell you also felt things deeply.
* * *
His gift was that my doubt appeared to him, physically, as a wound.
To him this wound gave off a light.
(Why did he say delusion is a lie that tells the truth?
Was he quoting? In disguise? Who thinks this?)
A handful of loose press-on nails.
A clustering of bubbles revealing life under the water.
They give themselves away.
Hiding beneath the trampoline’s screen to cloak the world in a feeling of cheap evening.
* * *
To dig a hole.
To have me fall into it.
After his mother’s death, the word voilà reduced Roland Barthes to tears.
I had hoped to write in undefended words, or failing that, to arrange them
in an undefended way.
I dreamed I took a phone call in the ocean, on a chunky cordless phone.
I was washed under a powerful, tumbling wave and E. was angry at me
for putting her on hold, for the abrasive music of the waves.
Voilà—a word appears upon the dark: Succumbed.