We rented dentist chairs & got possessed.
Listening to paratroopers suffocate,
I was like a guesthouse swelling
with performance artists, the skinny cigarettes,
abyssal bathwater. Now I’m snarling
in gyms, at Xerox servants. The secret
to a super PAC: get a bigger ghost,
hurl bourbon into an abyss. The campaign
needed baubles, so we painted blood
around the ribs, volunteered our daughters.
Some poetry appeared, demented
the glint. Big Glitter nearly canonized
America. I floated & for what? Hate
is intimate: we loved as much as anyone,
squinted through the sex, a stork,
conveyor babies stapled to the sky, caved
to ceremony masters circling the clutch.
Let us deal in psychedelics, dollar
signs. Sentenced to the stage,
we squeezed obscenities
from squadmates, the Benzedrine
dawn, haunted banquet halls,
lived on village runoff. Let us peel
the future with our fingernails,
send letters to the capitol, the crooks,
until our veins are unbelievable.
With every sir yes sir, I approached
the papacy, a sticky congregation
relinquishing my life to an electorate.
What about the one in bunker jackal? What
an orgy that was. I felt sharper afterward,
like a knife falling off a moving truck.
The messenger hawk is hitting the bottle
again. The toilet was loaded with vomited
mice this morning. They smelled like New
Years. Smiling holograms spilled their medals
in the dirt, so I said, “I’m done.” I’m decorated
now & handsome for a cemetery. Leave flowers
beneath the birthday. Every night, our reward
explodes. They pack me into another parade
& tell me to salute until my forehead scars.
Hit the lights. Let them
is my kinda men’s room. Someone
fix America’s face. It’s sliding
again. “America speak good?” America
speak great. You’ve got some bourbon
chicken on your collar & your micro-
phone is melting again.
Let impending piles of champagne
overshadow suffocated flowers,
people in pens. Look how American
you are. Remember to mention
the troops, but nothing specific.
The podium is loaded down
in dynamite. You know what to do
if they revolt. Tell me how American you are.
I am how America. Tell me what
you want from us. America. America.
We adore the matinee.
In the movies, everyone
is made of glass. Now,
in every movie, people
sit & hold each other.
This is so we have the freedom
to decide. The audience is feeling
everything at once. We pass around
our rifles so we can practice kissing
with our tongues. The barrels make them small—like ancient,
tiny Chinese shoes—which everyone is crazy for. I saw those
shoes once in an encyclopedia. You might think they were for
fancy horses. At first, I thought the picture was a painted
bird, only if the lower mandible was quickly ripped away.
Bring your offering before
the Pentagon. A sated altar
is the picture of devotion.
The armies of unhappiness
say, You shouldn’t trust
the suits, but what do they
know about the body that
we have not ordained? These
sacrifices open like a suit-
case, the nights full of napalm.
Now, while the stage is smoking.
Now, with the nation in stitches.
My uncle is a candle now. We burn him
on his birthday. Still a centimeter left.
Pastor’s blood gelatinized & dangles
from his nose, a licorice stick, a ruby
wand changing pages of his sermon. The trouble
with beginning to remember: somebody is
to blame, maybe bourbon. My uncle
will always be wax. I want to know
why. You need a stronger chemical,
Pastor says, or do you want the treatment?
I don’t want the treatment. They roll you
in old bottles until you are a sticky disco ball.
Pastor lifts his disc of fatty liver.
The congregation raises little
plastic cups. Some arms shine
if there’s still glass inside
On the ultrasound display: what appeared
to be a cemetery in my womb. The procedure
took place in the mess—a doctor got tilapia
in my Aquasonic. They said I was lucky
because my baby couldn’t be selected
as a sacrifice if she was not a baby after
all, or if my body was a breathing dagger.
Count your blessings, sweetie. Baby, count
your blessings. I am running out of fingers.
The city is covered in buckskin. We are
wealthy in that way. I keep the buildings
moisturized. I like to stop my platform
every other floor & listen to the walls
sigh. We keep the bucks alive so you
can take an elevator to the top, put
a quarter in the oat machine, & feed
them, even though they run on electricity
& food goes down a tube to be recycled into
oats at a factory like where my cousin was the floor
manager until she threw herself into the metal teeth.