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Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
Four Poems
by Chad Faries
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I found an amazing text from 1897 entitled "the book of knowledge." It is a kind of encyclopedia fro children but has a totally bizarre narrative voice. At time it is we, sometimes you, and then there is that "I," which is some sort of a good. Anyway, these poems are collages of entries from that book and my own modern twists. I kept a turn of the century diction.

Why is it Bad to Sleep With Flowers in Your Room

The reason is a very good one. They may
no longer be as beautiful as they once
were, and they are constantly exposing
their beautiful genitals which makes the world
envy and creates war and destruction,
makes magazines like Barely Legal
and Young Dumb and Full of Come. Their Tiresian
ambi-sexuality is worthy
of wonder as well. They are cunning re-
concilers. When you sleep with flowers
in your room, you are sick with ecstasy
as they spoil the air, which, if not changed, can hurt
you. You see, flowers breathe like you,
though very much less, so they spoil everything.
Also, cut flowers are slowly dying,
like us, and as they die they are changed
and things are given off from them
which are probably not good for you. I have
some ideas but it is best that I keep this
information from you. Neither cut flowers
nor living plants are good to sleep with,
for both of them in the dark do nothing
but help to poison the air in the room.
I do not say that this is very important.
I would much rather you slept with your window
open and had a few flowers in the room,
than with the window shut and no flowers;
but still, it is worth remembering. Be
skeptical of delivery. This is for you.
The Real Machinery That Works When We Breathe, Part One: Respiration

Everything that we call breathing is simply
a blue in a blue, but has nothing to do
with the sky. There is a very oblong
exhausted tongue that laps the earth daily,
and pants excessively. There is a wagging tail
that sweeps away the dandruff of ages.
And just as a fire burns brightest in a good draft,
so our bodies burn best, and in the most healthy
way when the blood moves quickly through them-
This is best done making love or playing volleyball
at work picnics. Perhaps we are beginning to learn
how wonderful blood is.
I saw a machine fail once. TJT's Nirvana Bar picnic.
On a picnic table under a brilliant noon light, the dog-
breath air, drunken volleyballs bouncing out
of bounds, and Patti who loved squirrels screaming
at the sight of Bill Newman tipping off
the top of the table like a huge empty
bottle of ketchup caught in a lakeside gust.
A control burn in the center of the body. A slow
howl and the tiny capillaries in a dog's eye
burst into red asterisks. A taut tail beats
the machine unknowingly.
The real breathing is elemental,
a billion breaths in my body as I grasp
my cock every morning, smelling dog and shoot-
ing off into a failed machinery of night
and kick-start the cellular motor of mourning.

The Ostrich Which Runs Like an Express Train Instead of Flying

When we think of this we must remember
that the wings of all birds, big or little,
flying or flightless, are only hands which
have been changed to wings. And in this we may
remember our first love, and how that touch
was like a delicate wisp of feather.
Oh how the blood pumped and surged. How the blood
wanted our bodies to lift off and fly
with the feathers of twelve years old, a play-
ground, and parents in flocks behind closed doors
moaning and moaning-frustrated at the
realization that they, even with feathers,
would forever be flightless ostriches. Unable
to fly, but still wild.
When wild an ostrich
shuns men and prefers the company
of giraffes and zebras and mule deer.
As it has lost the power of wings, it has
developed the power of its legs,
similar to the development of clipped
and fallen man's sense of persuasion. At the peak
of adolescence, if the feathers and gloating
are right, man can court successfully up
to five times a day depending on the lines
of longitude. In the Upper Peninsula
teens have dreams of peacocks and wash themselves
with brightly painted loofa sponges but fear
aircraft. And when they lose a love they run
like hell along the river bank. Yes, I did
it once and I would say I was quite like
an express train, and I ran and ran, with zebras
and giraffes fleeing from all sides. Of course
I couldn't keep it up, but even when that first
freshness wore off, I could still outrun a good horse,
unless the man upon the horse's back
knows how to hunt me. And I think he does.
Though I may be finding a door to hide behind.
Little Problems for Clever People

"I have just sold nine quarter-ounce bags of prime
Skunk Weed and seven quarter-ounce bags
of Acapulco Gold for $1500,"
said Farmer Giles. "I suppose you got more
for each bag of Skunk than you did for the
Acapulco Gold?" asked his friend. "Yes, I
got double," replied the farmer. What was
the price of the Skunk Weed?
When I was
in middle school I loved Mary Lucas like I
loved LSD and smoking dope in my
closet with a black-light and benches made
of speakers. Her voice was all shaky when
we touched, as if cold, or sick with fever.
Although I liken it to a sickness,
it seemed good. Maybe a purging. But this
is sometimes bad. Later I dated a
Bulimic who said she binged and purged, which
was not good. I knew I heard of binging
from my grandmother who said that's what my
mother did, went on a "binge" and ended
up at the white brick treatment center in the
VA hospital in Marquette. She stopped
drinking and only smoked dope, which seemed good,
for this is what I did in the bong closet
with the black-light where I tip-touched Mary
who shook, which, for the most part, was good,
although, like I said, I did liken it
to a sickness. In all this good and gray
not good, I often wonder what my
status was at that time and can only
assume that it was good as long as I
was with Mary, which turned out to be short-
lived which was bad. But I figure since that
weekend after I got out of my own
white brick treatment--that last time we made love
at aunt Holly's student housing apartment
on the leapord rug one of Al Capone's
henchman shot, her back propped up by the green
shag bean-bag that still sits in a corner
of a different house fifteen years later
with all of its glorious smells, the first
time she reached orgasm, and the wonder
of her tight muscles clutching all over,
coming until she cried, terrified
of ecstasy, her dizzy gaze observing
everything but pale me, frightened by what
may have been the closest we ever were
--the remainder of my days have been a
simple yearning that is too easy for a
poem. And I remembered my mother
one breakfast morning telling me she felt
that way with Dan Wall, her first orgasm.
There is no bad or good to describe that.

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