Category Archives: Skin vehicle

Subjective description of a Grand Mal seizure

It’s not that I see another man
or hear another man’s voice.
I wish it were so simple,
but I don’t, it isn’t.
Something happens, that’s all.

Something happens, not a crack in the sky,
just a slithering inside,
a movement from here to there,
and it becomes all different.

Imagine asking a dog,
skewed down in the middle of the road,
amongst traffic,
simple gunfire falling,
his heart ripped open,
a child dead near his jaws:

So, tell me, why do you lick your balls?
I know. Old joke. Compulsion.
Not to tell, but to lick.
To suckle on a self.
To chew at a life, frothing.

This leg here in the trap and what the fuck?
I’m not barking here. You think I am.
It looks on playback as though I’m barking.
Garish, in and out of focus.
But I’m not barking here.

If only I could talk this language for you.
Speak what I spoke. What I’m shouting.
Smart fools everywhere. See that?
An arching hollow back, like I’m throwing up letters.

Imagine an African, 300 years ago,
tomorrow, babbling pigin,
his own perfect language,
spitting all he has, shouting:

“Let me go, let my heart go,
kill me and stop this thing, please God,
the worst of it is all true;
my wife cut to little pieces, my children,
three and five, shredded dead in a pit,
my dick, that only other friend, taken from me,
my hopes all some puppy in a happy white sack,
kill me now.”

That’s what it sounds like to me.
Not to you. To you, it’s a howling
and a need to put him down.
The old new beast.
Some blackbrown raggedydoll.
Fucked-up with sickness.
Unreliable animal. Unknowable,
let’s lock the doors and find the gun.
Boil some tar, get feathers.

Twitching, Grand Mal stuck in my throat,
skin all raised like my neck is just a hackle.
So sick with something. So sick with something.
Fade to white.


A Head of the Migraine

He blew his mind out in a car
but in my case it was with the saxophone
and you come to realize that without your eyes
much of the fun in life is gone.

Oh you can listen to the radio.
Smell her perfume on the invisible neck.
Taste the difference between cinnamon and butter.
Count to five and hold your breath.

But for all of the other senses
(the storm coming at the front of your forehead
an imaginary friend who’s dreaming about you)
the ghosts still come

not caring for your blindness
for pleasures can exist only in a memory
that hates all that you were
for the doing of what you did.

Domestic revolution

I have a theory
that the exact amount
your brain had to move

as a child
is the exact amount
it moves now

and so as a child
if you had to spin quickly
to be safe

or become noticed
you will spin similarly
in your adult head

and be required
to deal with these revolutions.
This will be exhausting

cause uncertainty and result
in a poor allocation
of your emotional resources.

This must be what her problem is
or alternately and long ago
my own mother ignored me also.

The acceptable face of insects

a bit like dragon flies
are the acceptable face of insects.
We don’t mind them
of even quite like them.
They’re pretty and flutter nicely
they don’t scuttle like beetles
or slither like worms.
They don’t eat shit
or the dead either (apparently).
People stand there and if they’re lucky
they get covered with them.
We put them on our kids’ lunchboxes,
the brochures of banks.
A stand-in for lightness,
for summer and delicacy.

The thing with insects
with butterflies even
is that they can die very suddenly
with the swipe of a hand
or the beak of a bird
but in essence there are so many of them
that they live forever.

The thing with insects
is that you can kill them by the truckload
without compunction or feeling
the human weight of killing.
How we feel about it for the most part
is based on how much feeling
we imagine what we’re killing to have.
Molecules nothing. Ants not much.
You kill a dog and for the most part
you feel bad about it.
Even more so for a child or a parent
or some other kind of human being.

A cat. Imagine a cat. You’d feel bad
about having to kill a cat. Poor thing.
We measure the birth of our psychopaths
by the fact that they used to tie fire crackers
to the tails of lone strays.
Not at all normal.
But not insects, apart from butterflies,
not right. We wouldn’t take kindly
to a man who crushed them up
one after another in his bare hands
(Pin to a board is mostly alright
but only if it was a hundred years ago
and done precisely).

Today I saw the eye of a butterfly
and in the same moment
saw mechanical beauty and death.
The mathematics of it
The black honeycomb of so many lenses.
This was a dead butterfly
but still quite perfect looking
as is their way.

A Perfect Circle

A perfect circle is drawn
by a single monkey
on a dirt floor
of a poorly lit cell
unseenĀ  and unrecorded
unnoted and unknown.

The difference
between all men
and the monkey
being that the monkey
doesn’t care for a second
about the achievement
or the lack of recognition.
Or the circle.

(July 13, 2013)

Eulogy for Mark Rothko

I’m a painter.
I paint pictures filled with my own big head.
I have trouble with the eyes,
they come out squint and yellow, begging.

People look at my riverbed skin and ask
Have you been stuck in a cupboard
with a sack on your face?
I tell them nothing.
I tell them I dreamt I was dead,
woke up one day and felt better
than I had for a long time.

There are many dead people.
Rothko, another painter, collapsed one day
and his wife said, lie there,
think about everything and let me know.

And he did lie there
and then he died
and when I’m like this, floating,
when my eyes are loose, set free,
I think of him and know that we’re each of us alone,
bought off separately
by dependence and every other thing.


Untitled (Vitas)

Woke up grateful
Thinking of Vitas Gerulaitis
And with memories
Of stirring at three
With no thoughts front of house
But a dry headache
And the smell of paint fumes

I slipped back into sleep
Acknowledging that if this was slow poison
I might well not wake up again.

This observation was no more
To that head than seeing
A bird fly by a closed window
Which seems about the right scale
In every respect except my own.