Cyber Corpse 2
Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
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by Claudia Grinnell

On the Eighth Day

And here, I said, behold
the angels living in this cave.
We have tortured them
into confessing
about the heads of needles, and the number
of times God made
us in his own image,
and who held the mirror.


Conditions Vertical and Conditions Horizontal

Woman, seven months pregnant
I was the owner
of one
complete house--
then slow infestation
heartbeats, blood, oxygen
for more space. Certain foods
were out of the question,
denial of fried bacon.
It feeds
on me.
Man, drinking coffee
black, hasn't slept
in days, walks to work humming
his own lullaby.
He is not himself
anymore, his wife says.
He is constantly exploding
objects: lawns spattered
with dandelion buds,
a red tractor,
a mountain of impressive dimension.
Message, on an answering machine
If I can't find you
don't look for me.
Anna, upon waking
finds a toe in her bed.
Her own bed, her own toe, detached
neatly from her foot--no blood.
Other body parts hang on
precariously, but look
edible. Stew of forearm,
or rack of cheek.
Anna, in the course of the day
drives a red convertible,
waves to whistling construction workers.
This is the game
of others who learned to sign
in exact arrangements
of onezeroonezeroonezero. Order
is the essential idea here.
Don't be dismayed: the roadside
is littered with car cadavers,
still shiny tail fins
jut into the air. Grass gets
slicker and more fatal.
One moment
of inattention
and Anna's car spills
over the bridge,
into a spray of water and metal.
Her ear floats to the surface
twenty minutes later and sails
down the Ouachita, reaching
the Delta by mid-morning.
cut my heel in the shower,
bled through seven layers
of gauze and white tennis socks
before I called my lover
asking what to do. Stop
kneeling he said. I'd offer
you my comfort, he said,
but my flesh is being eaten
by termites. I'll leave you
with this, he said, I'm afraid
to speak, afraid of this state
of logical permutations, afraid
that the trees will grow faster
than the poison I pour
into the earth. So this is it
then, I asked. No sapphires
for my brand new bed. No
eruptions of hunger, madness, words.
I keep hearing
words, there
must be
termites in heaven.


Once Again, Tell Me What It Is

I. Proper Way to Fall in Love

Not in Port-au-Prince
when you're down
to your last Gourde,
not in Algiers, Tripoli
or Khartoum when Cassiopeia
drops her veil
but when all you have left
is a sentence
about gray nightingales--
the color of life.

II. Probably, This is Love

This is the first line
of a poem nesting precariously
in the crevice of my elbow.
I am not saying that
to alarm you, but to draw
your attention to the blossoming
sprouts of yellow hibiscus
right there at the tip
of my tongue.

III. Afterwards, Everyone is Covered with Fog

For at least 99 incarnations
as a limbless, worm-like
amphibian [skeleton mostly
bony] during times
when dragons rule. Don't fret,
mein Liebchen, ma cher,
it's your face
that's taking form.
I conjure you, and you arrive
to open the door,
in an old black and white movie,
to put your hand on your hip--
there's a shadow across your face
and your voice is raw
from Whiskey and cigarettes.
And I fall in love with you,
you, a derelict sailboat
with broken masts.


The Case Against Idealism

Sacred cows


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