Inanimate

as you leak long and slow

worrying about rupture

all hunched over wincing

drunk off pain

you take a break from monotony

it’s raining outside right now

but that doesn’t matter what matters

is pain staring back at you thru a mirror

the absence of soul and meaning

knowing that if you could see forever

that there would be an infinite number of you

although artificial

as the cold fluid supposedly water touches

your fingers suddenly stopping somehow automatically

when you should stop feeling

if only you’d stop feeling

projects projecting

sitting on a metal bench with hands clenched
without anything inside on the speeding SEPTA
train Broad street line traveling north destination
Dauphin Susquehanna Station there’s something about the old pale man
shaking his cane across from me mumbling about the weather
reciting incantations in order to halt the impending snowstorm
my stomach is an empty shell
my head a cauldron
my chest deflated
“this journey can only end badly” I think
the disembodied female voice names my stop
I get out and even the station is falling apart puddles of rusty water
decaying walls slowly dying trudging humans inanimate death
everywhere and above ground
is no better I’m not used to this land
I walk up Broad two blocks while chewing gum and looking back
trying to find the skyline it’s not the same
I’m in a different world North Philly I’m fine with being
the only white person around got nothing to hide not even my skin
once I get to Cumberland I make a right and pass the auto body shop
filled with broken cars and only two men fixing them they look at me vacantly
most are abandoned get ready for everything abandoned
razor-wire on all fences dark red row-houses not homes
dark red decaying spaces
the corner of 13th street is oppressive w/ 4 story toppling warehouses empty
like everything else
a man walks toward me diagonally with a trash bag
now I’m afraid I’m not used to human contact
he stares and somehow sees me thru the wasteland
a man picking up bottles there are too many to pick up
too many punctured mattresses and plastic bags in vacant lots
piles and mounds of trash where does it come from there are so little humans
only trash
I only look back for so long now I’m underneath an overpass it’s dark and the hill is ominous
the bridge is green and I can’t hear any traffic there’s ice and black snow from weeks ago
all around and it’s nowhere else in the city only here with all the trash
how long is this gray wall
more abandoned lots and vacant buildings why am I here I should turn back I will turn back I’m lost
no I can only go ahead
tall boarded up buildings but now in different colors it’s beautiful a cat leaps down
the steep front stoop and stairs and comes toward me it’s pure white and it’s an omen it disappears underneath
another block I look down the street it’s taped off
there is a big dark stain in the asphalt only 20 feet away
nothing else
I walk faster a parked car there’s parked cars around now I walk and now I hear people
I’m happy to hear people but when I look
they see me as something else and I don’t want to intrude I’m sorry
I’ll just keep my head down
I see the high rises many stories tall brown and uniform there are two of them
parallel buildings I know exactly what they are at first sight
the projects projecting oppression
looming over me now but also over everyone else living here on every other day
I’m afraid but I don’t show it
I wish I could peer into this desolate landscape

but I can feel the stares

I want to hide my skin so I just keep walking eyes down seeing broken

pavement all of a sudden out of my peripheral there are children speaking violently with pre-pubescent and adolescent voices

they’re saying that they’re strapped are they talking to me I keep my pace

I feel the bullet pierce my back in microseconds
don’t look

am I dead it’s only imaginary why is it imaginary am I imaginary why
I don’t belong here no one does

expand upon

“this is denial

i feel like”

(says jonesie while walking thru the park alone [he’s always alone] his pants are falling down and he’s worried about other people around him seeing him and making fun of him in their minds but in reality no one notices him and he hasn’t figured this out yet that he lives in a new century where people don’t pay attention to other attractive people let alone ugly dirty lonely old men and the saddest thing is that he isn’t sad he just forgot to put on a belt this morning)

“what i must express

or rather how i am expected

to convey this is what i must say

and also predicate

this is what i must express”

(says the student who doesn’t think who only mimics who only consumes)

this is what is deemed expressible

no images

only pixels

this is what is only digital

no more meaning

only structure

[i would like to say that i have felt something through this process this microcosm of nothingness this of course being life or rather my perception of my own experience as an individual this is a footnote and is completely unnecessary like all footnotes like human life but it exists and because it does it is and since it is it will in some way and it has and so this is not a justification or a vindication or an any kind of vacation this is not logic this is not surrealism this is not post-modernism this might be meta but that’s not the point the point is that it doesn’t matter that this is pointless there are some feelings that seem like forever and that makes things okay for a fraction of an instant so that has to be good enough i guess]

The Public Death of a Human

I wonder if there are bumper-stickers that say “What would Dionysus do?” Maybe there aren’t any because it would run the risk of catching the mythologically-aware police officer’s eye. I wonder how many cops are well-versed in the traits of Greek gods. Maybe it’s better not to posit arbitrary hypotheses. It’s best to keep such worries bottled up. Or maybe I should just drown them in the water of life.

Speaking of whiskey, this tiny bottle of Tully has been sitting on my bureau for a few months now. It’s almost empty. I’d guess that there’s only a 1/5th left, 4/5ths of which were swigged while writing a poem lost in pages of drunken stream-of-consciousness.

I don’t know why I’ve saved this last little bit of Tullamore Dew. My nihilist self says for no reason. My hypochondriac self says that since the seal has been broken and the cap has been left half on by my drunken past-self, that there runs a risk of contamination, somehow. My anxious self says the same thing, but not for any clinical reason, which is perhaps better, because the former is absolutely absurd, (ad infinitum via the paranoid delusional parts of me.) My melodramatic self says that I’m saving the ultimate sip for when the friend who gave it to me as a gift dies.

Although now I don’t think that will happen to him all that soon anymore. My friend recently had surgery in order to remove a tumor from his bladder. It was successful, and should stem the tide of nothingness for a little while, (although the malignancy in his prostate is a different story). Back in September I didn’t know he had cancer. That was when he travelled to Lithuania because he was invited to read at a poetry festival in Vilnius. The somewhat large, autonomous, and semi-recognized-as-independent-commune that hosted the event, (and awarded him with the title of Ambassador of all African Americans) is built on the ruins of a WWII-era Jewish ghetto. He told me he could not feel comfortable there, no matter how accommodating his hosts were, on account of the tortured phantoms of forgotten individuals.

It was sometime in October and the night after he returned from halfway across the world when we went to McGlynchies and he showed me photographs of the artists’ collective and poetry festival. He drank Cuervo and Harp. I drank Tully and Lager. When we departed from one another he told me he had cancer and gave me a gift. If I abide by my melodramatic self then I hope it will be awhile before I sip the rest of that whiskey he gave me.

When we hang out I don’t speak as often as I usually do around other people I drink with. I imbibe in his anecdotes and conspiracies as well as our usual drinks. He’s given me other tokens, usually mysticism-related trinkets, but this whiskey is the most heartfelt. It’s only 50ml, kind of like the mini airline bottles of liquor. Although this gift wasn’t picked up haphazardly and conveniently duty free. It’s from Lithuania, specifically the hotel he stayed in in Vilnius, complete with a white sticker filled with Lithuanian words. He got it for me because he knows me. He notices the little things. Our weekly communion hasn’t gone unnoticed to him, even though it’s only been going on for the past year, out of the other sixty some-odd-years he’s been alive. How about I drink this last little bit now in the hope that it will go on for some time.

The Pen as an Archeological Oddity

we are unable inexpressible   /           repression filled          high-(non)-functional             humans

there’s a change in perception

this abrupt       shift                in worlds has happened before,        but it’s drastic now

the way the pen rests on a table,       horizontally

beckoning, enticing our former species

it’s not that we have broken hands but broken minds

they’re see-through in order to view                                                 ink deplete gradually

the pen, an instrument of serenity                 in that even the                       motion

the gyration of the wrist

causes tiny muscles to stretch and constrict

possessed by the pen

yet all of that is only memory            now, perhaps that feeling of oneness

with the inanimate is              just a ploy of our desire,                     our half-artificial brains

lusting primitivism again

or rather hands                       that beckon                             to be of use

we are not       glorifying a utilitarian                                                 object

applying          ink to page     via gravity

nothing less yet           there’s something more about this that cannot be expressed

when we see   the pen in our new minds       physicality isn’t there

more   like a   medium

                                                to

                                                            be