Pick Your Poison
(In the sibling society, people adopt false selves
in order to be more like one another, in order to
be invisible, agreeable, and passionless.)
Rattler nudges my neck
sniffing my breath for a mouse,
then meanders left shoulder
down my waist onto
the garden below with carnivorous
(watch your hand) barracuda-toothed,
vermilion lips snapping
the universe to perfect attention.
If a question isn’t a question,
we must know the answer.
I know a little.
But a question still isn’t a question
if it’s loaded, you know,
like a marionette poised high above
the House of Wax for political misdeeds
caught red-handed deceiving the republic,
a la Napoleon, self-pity & all.
I had a father who had a son.
I had a father, once.
But days this time of year
sag like rotten fruit. You’re not hungry,
yet you don’t feel like dieting, either.
Behind a frond, silk glove, an eyeglass
gurgling refugees from the Titanic
sacrificing one’s place on a tumbling lifeboat
for last gulp of salted coffee-colored bubbles.
Notwithstanding, we threw away
the corporate news, creased
between our knuckles the sports section
& stepped from patios, some
with polished pebbles lining
others reflecting the personalities
of their owners: shards from cobalt medicine
vials, rear ends of beer bottles,
indigenous stones, & clear plastic bricks
from cardboard tower
forcing us back to 3-years-olds
living as 30-something’s in modular houses
no one else wants.
The tongue of Samuel Taylor
sinking Kubla’s kingdom
below the flinty voices of gypsies
feeding arteries, arteries cultivated
to question the mob.
Skull diving. Traveling. Suitcases
with Detroit Metro tags reflecting
garbled speakers beneath thatched
roof with maintenance worker
known as Joseph, yet the handle
belongs to many,
inserting bones & flesh,
flesh & bones, bones & flesh
into the slot promising freedom
& promising faith can outrun a
e=mc² garden spider meditating
her two thousand & one terrorist
eggs hatching flooded malls
with FBI agents generations
removed from tick & flea medication.
Flinty voices loading empathetic
blanks into empty chambers.
They sting a bit, at first,
but we get used to it.