For light doth seize my brain
With frantic pain.
In the uncut gray
of pulled blinds you’ve become
the bedroom’s dirty secret—
in a darkness bath, you and not you.
The galvanized metal dissolver of faith,
a half-life of afghan and dust mote.
No one peels away the pain
of two sickles in one eye, one blind eye.
Liar of air, migraine. Fakir of sound.
Twelve clicks of the metronome and you’re done,
gone, flicked like a moth from the light of the sun.
No one here is having fun.
Not living but breathing
beneath garbled pantheons
of laundrydrying, grassgreening in the heat
that gives way to the dew
which gives way to the drink
that only the tiniest creature tongues.
Nowhere near finished, this blocked passage
of cerebellum. Thank you, no,
says the ache behind the rightest eye.
I, oh righteous eye. Riotous above the clouds.
Your doppelganger speaks only to lie:
I am not the woman who made you feel the pain of this.
Not I, said the pain. Not I, says your twin.
I am not she. Not she-goat. She storm. She brave
atop the waves of circumferential silence
that does not exist
except in the head of the thing alive in your head,
that rears its ugly head
from the Venetian blinds, the blinding day-
light just like every other day,
helicopters blazing the shoreline.
Just like every other day, punctuated by anvil.
You know that death doesn’t taste
like tablespoons of raw salt nor sewer nor rat
bludgeoned in the ear in the back yard
of peopleliving. It undulates,
coagulated oil on hot stones.
You are the Queen of the fabulatory moan.
An empty set of sleeves, a coercer
of smallness, darkness, and of easychairs.
You are someone else, and she screams
out of you,
Give me space and breath!
Don’t leave! Don’t leave! Come back
to sour smelling sheets
—as if they’re not your sheets—
to counting viscous sheep—
though you’ve been counting sheep all day—
to my hollow-bleating, massive pleading bed—
Your bed. Your unmade bed—
Come back green or hoarse
or clown—your nonsense—come back with your woolen,
stolen frown. Come back! Tell me
I’m no good—
But it’s you she’s talking to—
I’m faking! I’m faking! Tell me that—
But you can’t, you know she’s not—
But don’t leave, but do.
Leave me counting upside down.
Leave me a history of women burned.
Tell me then that I’m a fake.
Leave me to the moth’s pale light—
Go have your life. Go have your night—
You’ll come back!—
And you will—
THE TRUSTING, THE STUPID, THE DEAD
When I was a dreaming kid
I could close my eyes and trust
that outer space was a million incisors
chomping away at the void.
Even now, poking at my eyelids in the dark
I see computer-screen-blue and wonder,
Can anyone else see me glow?
When I was a stupid kid
Pepe le Pew nailed me to the floor
of a dumpster. Last night
was no different: a movie star shot rolled quarters
at a store clerk. My bank-robber
cousin vomited household appliances
all over her jail cell. Some days all you want
is to sleep and dream proper dreams
of going naked to school or flying
over mass-produced suburbs.
But mastering dreams is like raising the dead.
I won’t lie. I’m laden
with birdcages holding babies with claws
and wings. Full of bayou graves.
When I close my eyes the chimera
wrangles for a place at the table. I’m stocked
to the gills with doppelgangers. In a world
dressed up in gradients of black and gray, I stumble
over toothy faces in the dark
like a gullible toddler, and what’s worse is—
trusting and stupid and dead-sleep-walker
that I am—sometimes I recognize in them
the only radiant color left
in this whole goddamn universe.