I wore his suit to the wake
slept face down on his pillow
was given ashes in a ziploc bag.
I put bones in my mouth
which is not a metaphor for something less animal.
I stuck my hand in and pulled out two pieces
the size of marbles
I put them on my tongue and nothing happened
and they tasted
like my mouth was empty.
That was my first death,
but later I was not less savage.
I mourned each
ragged tripping over myself.
I cried and was ugly with it,
black smears under my eyes
black dress and matted hair
at the memorials.
There were a lot of them.
and each time I learned nothing,
One boyfriend shot himself in the head
life is trashy cheap
Long or short,
Don climbed the Williamsburg bridge and jumped into traffic.
The next day in the newspaper:
a police officer standing by
a body under a sheet, one foot visible.
One summer your oldest friend dies sick
and you become a terrible asshole,
a real piece of shit.
Every condolence pure scam:
He does not live on in my heart
don’t fuck around with a fuck-around.
Death is a hole burnt in something silk
and singed black at the edges;
it is the blank that makes the name a lie,
a hieroglyph that represents nothing.
Writing it is forgery.
When you drop a lit match,
it goes out.
That’s all that happens.
Don’t grab my hand.
Don’t tap your foot like that.
A Very Short Introduction
In a dream Jodorowsky tells me
love dances in the lap of war.
If there was more, I forgot it.
bathe in icy water
say my tongue is an eel
laugh in strangers’ faces ( joy isn’t rude)
imagine you kill everyone you love
and feel no guilt
nibble paper and sit calmly in the living room
leave the lights off
Be wanton, if you like
swallow and catalogue holy
like something god did.
Never mind that these are tricks
theater is a cheat but the tears are real.
Know that you will die
as you would at anything perfect and tiny
you can crush with your hands.
If I say I want to die
I only mean
like a matryoshka
each split doll
opens on another
shinier less useless
sweet and new.
Later, I dream a tiger eats me
and I dream what the tiger dreams.
Hello piss yellow sky.
Spring summer doesn’t come,
the season stays cold
tough as kindergarten.
The apartment tightens around
my galley kitchen my telephone my cactus plant
my galley kitchen my dirty stove my movie projector
my pasta pot my featherbed my porcelain cup
my butter dish my attic stairs
my sugar dish my bannister my income taxes
my slip-on shoes his electric shaver
my toothbrush holder my percolator my orange cat my my my
When you burn something the ash is soft
like thank you.
I wait for heat
honey pear peach plum