Poetry

[finale_shoutout]selected poetry in progress[/finale_shoutout] Hernia I. Technically, a hernia is the …

[finale_shoutout]selected poetry in progress[/finale_shoutout]

Hernia


I.

Technically, a hernia is the exit
of an organ, such as the bowel,
through the wall of the cavity
in which it normally resides.

I did not know it was defined
so viscerally or I might have been
more concerned. My concern
at the time was limited to
what looked (to me and anyone
else who saw it) like a third testicle.

II.
My father had a hernia
after he passed some kidney
stones, so I thought it was
really only something that happened

to fathers, or grown men. Neither
of which I could have been considered.
But women can have hernias too
because they have just as many organ
cavities, if not more, and the walls in there
are probably no different from the walls in here.

III.
When I laid down, I could feel
it all sliding back into place,
a sense of relief that is the result
of not realizing any discomfort

until it is absent. Once, it got caught.
I sat with my legs crossed for too long
and when I stood up, I felt it catch,
gravity pulling harder than it had
probably ever pulled. After hours of tidal
pain, I finally sneezed on the subway platform.

III.
We visited Cong when I was fourteen,
a village that straddles the borders
of County Galway and County Mayo.
Cong is surrounded by streams, both above

and below ground. On our second day in town,
my brother and I walked with a local to the mouth
of the Pigeonhole, one of many sinkholes, named
not with the pun in mind, but because the hole
is actually shaped like the outline of a pigeon.
Our guide showed us the newest tunnels,

fingers of the main cavern that were formed
and blocked by the birth of sister sinkholes.
Earth’s intestines push through the wall
of this cavern or that, filling in an old sinkhole,
opening a new one, and we think god
this is a beautiful secret place.
Fecund stone; almost sacred.

 

[finale_shoutout]selected lyrics in progress[/finale_shoutout]

Lost Cities
excerpt from a song cycle in progress


DETROIT
I am just a girl
a girl in a city
and as a girl in a city
I’ve come to know a lot about loneliness
and also about the different ways to dance

And I don’t believe in love
or dying in your sleep
or the Christian
concept of God.

I read the news on my phone
and it makes me feel important
I listen to Chick Corea
or Stan Getz
or anything intellectual and sexy

And most of the time
(most of the time)
I dance by myself.
Yes I dance
by myself

I like telling stories
in my head
but never out loud
I like singing
but only songs I don’t have to practice
too much

I listen hard to the world
while I lie awake at night
almost every night
I listen for the music of the city
the breath of machines
the language of industry.

And most of the time
(most of the time)
I dance by myself.
Yes I dance
by myself

And when I lay my head down
to rest or to cry
I imagine all
the most beautiful ways to die
Not in a sad way,
but in a hopeful way.

And when I go out into the night
to listen to the music of the stars
their voices float so high above the noise of people and cars
so I sort of think the stars must all be women
or boys
or castrated monks.

And when I go back home
(when I go back home)
I dance by myself
Yes I dance
by myself

DRESDEN & ROANOKE (as DRUMMER)
I am just a man
a man in a city
and as a man in a city
I’ve come to know a lot about music
and making noise when I do anything at all.

And I don’t believe in love
or in the beauty of the natural world
or in whispering
or taking your time.

I’m not a very good drummer,
but I know how to be loud,
I know how to lie about feelings,
and I can pick you out of a crowd.

And I’ve come so far
to find someone like you
came all the way across town
the traffic was terrible
and all my exes were man-eaters
and what are the odds that we’d find each other
like this.
This can’t be a coincidence.

So come dance with me
(come dance with me)
and we can dance by ourselves
Yes we can dance
by ourselves

DETROIT
I can’t feel my face
can’t feel my feet
my bones, my skin, my whole body
But I can dance
I can move with you
I can take a chance.
The stars sing so high
so clear,
so far away,
a song they sang a billion years ago
that’s just now getting here.

So let’s dance
by ourselves
Yes we can dance
by ourselves

Show me how to care
show me how to care
show me how to care
show me how to care

THEY DANCE

to DRUMMER
I don’t believe in love
don’t believe in that electric feeling
don’t believe
in anything divine.
But for a second there
I thought maybe
I could.

HE MELTS AWAY INTO DARKNESS

We danced,
and the city shone,
oblivious and beautiful.
Thought I’d never see him again.
Never see him again,
never see him again
never see him again
And I never quite figured out
why it didn’t feel more wrong.
I never stopped dancing by myself
and I never will.

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