The Accountant

There’s nothing left to balance. I praise

this institution of bodies with the build

of Atlas failures, brains the consistency

of coyote nocturnes. With credit as straight

as your spine, there’s nothing left to pay

but the fees to even vertebrae

and the tax on crackling neurons.

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When You’re Craving Something Real

And this is where the hypnotist

would twist and crawl on all fours

upon the beige and peeling walls

and whisper in Latin, yes, yes

 

this is where your history lies,

predictably close to where

she marked your destination

on virtual maps with copper scarabs.

 

The exorcist speaks in tongues

then licks the beetles off her back

with iron maiden precision. Yes,

that is almost where you are.

That Which is Easier Said than Done

My larynx exhales chocolate that blots the future.

You could be this whole aluminum world, I say,

with melting palms that could cook a god like poultry.

An artificial shine in divine eyes attracts the crows,

kills them as they swallow trash. You could glow, I say,

tributes erected that scream in flapping tongues

like candy wrappers; you could grow, I say,

and pluck the universe as your roost.

 

My throat coughs jasmine incense. We die explaining

to our deities that jasmines could represent hope

in cultures not our own. I could grow myself,

I say, but others will have to explore jasmines

in my place, in meanings not my own.

I speak chocolate where others forget the roasted

lust for food. The taste that the future is splotched.

Cosmos

Your space is there, but somehow

you are here, mopping the floors

of their amber tint with a

salt-rimmed cocktail of shoe

polish and sweat. You know

you are not the first.

 

Those ghosts smell of the rectangular

shades that eat at the dusty

brown paint, the fingers melted

in the pearled handle, the door

 

already ajar. You are not the first,

the last, the billionth. And you,

too, will slump with the weight

of names turned into percentages

before you, those faded stairs

and walls too representative of the sky

 

to not symbolize us. Already

the thought of bodies

before you

is rusting. Your shadow snarls

at an invisible clock

chanting omens

and playing with a Ouija board

of pineal glands and numbers.

The Penitent

DNA drapes its glucose flesh

across a sour phosphate spine. Tonight,

a waxing crescent creates another forest

from the conifers’ own shadows. So it is

 

that the spirits spawn a second you

 

from overworked candles. We all bow

with more confessions than beads

as leopard print camouflages your computer-

white hands from our frosty realm. That light

 

has always been a chain. Actually, you

would claim, it’s a lot more like a tether–at best,

a hide to warm your jilted skull–

 

at worst, a leash. Eyes snap shut

during service like jaws snatching

lambs. Psalms are painted

on authority-colored eyelids.

 

These arching figures murmur hymns

that crunch through fanged robes like sugar

beneath a panicked boot.

 

Your gloves never stop purring

against your forehead.

Pray tell.

No, this is it.

Here it is, this New World

vs. Old Testament, the boiling debacle

between wings and relentless vines

but why would we forget the syringe? I remember

 

prying out a fresh thing from the earth

tasting tenderly like sinew

and implicating batteries, similar

to clipping a lobe or two

from an asphyxiated mouse

or sipping on the leftover saline

pumped through decalcified rodent

reflexes when the nitrile is finally bloody

and a mind is satiated. I remember

 

balancing needles for a tombstone,

classifying morphine species down to rotting

earth, and calling it religion. This is not

 

divine, but a hierarchy

of vagus nerves, the simple way

that vermin organizes carbon. This is

not human, but that is. That’s not

soulless, it’s science. Here

 

it is: I never thought I’d have

a dead rat for a god.