Portrait of Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, 1888.
I walk downstairs and find
that the house is mine.
It seems that I have bought gray floor-lamps,
baskets, and roses. Gray clouds press
a headache on the ceiling.
The walls weep. I fumble
for the phone, and the cough
of my lighter startles
a fly on the granite counter.
I contract; I am on a sterile bed,
surrounded by latex and nylon.
Big strong doctors with answers
buzz through the halls like a sneeze.
To contract is an interesting thing.
In biology they call it a positive feedback loop;
one’s uterus begins to contract, and the body
pushes back harder and contracts stronger.
Which is the opposite of
what one would think it would do.
The body wants things out; foreign objects
rejected. The sun turns
into pink lemonade.
The phone coos plastically
in my ear. It slams into
the receiver in a way that startles
me, the phone, and the fly. All I wear is
the draping smoke that lingers
in the humidity in here.
The neighbors wrestle outside
with hoses or inflatable pools
or babies. Always humidity. Like
swimming through concrete.
A hormonal cardinal pecks at my window
with her offensive orange nose while I smear
gray on my eyes. I remember my family dog
rolling in mulch like it was Chanel No. 5.
I make my bed and think about
how very important it is that I make
my bed. Like those monks or priests
that break their necks making
those intricate sand-drawings that they dump
out later, to prove
to their followers or to themselves
or to the sand that everything
must come to ruin, but that everything
still must be everything.
I once dated a wannabe-priest who had lips
like two sofas. I thought that to corrupt a man
of the cloth would be an apt challenge.
He held his rosary beads in the sunlight and explained
what they required of him.
He ended up going to seminary in dry Arizona.
My coffee is moist and steamy
beyond its principles. Clouds
pressure-cooking my head
all the time. Steam won’t come out
through my ears, although I tell
it that that is a feasible exit like I’m a goddamn
flight attendant. My hair
seems to coil and rise up on top of
my head like feathers.
I take a silver-back wallet
from my pocket and count
its green tongues. I grind them with a
mortar and pestle, and they turn white.
A wire hanger sits beside the hospital
trash can. Cars spew rain on the street.
The average fly lifespan is 24 hours.
Men snore all across the block while their
wives stare at beige ceilings. Earth turns.
The coffee cup shatters
in the sink. I look at my cigarette’s
lit end and consider the orangeness of the
heat pressing out from behind the gray.
The world is all ashes and moisture pressing together stickily.
Red nail polish drips on granite.
An electrical outlet behind the couch is
faulty, and it is connected
to a butterfly lamp. A lamp
with butterflies sealed inside the linen.
The moon rolls across
my eyes, blood red.
I hear my own scream; something is terribly wrong.
A fly buzzes against lightbulbs, wings
coated in dew. Morning comes like
Aphrodite; she brings flowers,
and they have wilted like
a diabetic dog.
Owner without things. Storks
fly from Japan to Puerto Rico,
bright and white. Orange love burns
in private beds. A big strong doctor with
answers wraps me up and tells me
that it is okay, that blood runs. Blood dries
on plaster walls and trash cans.
Miles away a dump truck roars.
The electrical outlet suckles
on the lamp cord; all life consumes.
I sit with my head
under the coffee table, so comfortable
in the black, my fingers
in my ears, blocking the sound of
hot blood pumping and thrashing
pumping and thrashing.
Moist earth presses up against my knees.
It wasn’t my fault when day broke
on a blood-red corduroy couch,
its iron and ashes and moisture.
My white-powdered nose
poured, and the garbage truck
sang. The girl on the swing, pink dresses
rise and fold while cherubs
Surging and thrashing as blue,
electrical manpower overrides.
The nylon couch catches a small flame
by the hole that the old cat dug.
My hair was tangled in the couch’s rusty
staples as I twisted. Manpower overrides.
Heat grew in my cheeks as the
couch rocked orange. I couldn’t hear the
thrashing. My dead hair tugged
at the upholstered silk, ripping.
How young air is. A fog of smoke settled
like a doily over my curls.
Blue anxious life had its hand over me.
I pulled and bit at the couch legs to free
my hair but became enamored
by the light. The pink folds
of the couch faded away and
I could understand the blue.
Latex gloves pull at the skin
in annoying ways. Doctors’ long nose
hairs reach out to me, recede in, reach out.
White belly gives way to white bone.
The hospital bed becomes unattached
from its horizontal axis, becomes a free,
vertiginous thing. Breasts of ages
burn down from the sky.
Death is pink; it has always been.
Nosebleeds for thirty years.
Humidity cannot help this kind.
It is man’s nature, it breeds
vines over my neck, sprouting in light,
voracious and thirsty; electricity only wants to live.
Blood is mostly salt and water and
chemicals, conductive things;
man has his affinities. Our blue vines
entwine. Pumping and thrashing.
My tongue in powder on the coffee table,
paralyzed with the shock of man.
My bloody eyes curdle and relax.
Contract. I understand the blue.
I smell latex. A dump truck mumbles
on down the street, towards the setting sun.
Storks fly from Japan to Puerto Rico,
bright and white.
I laugh and ask God:
to name is to love, but
can one name what cannot be loved?