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from State of the Union


Speaking Of

undue eventualities. Let’s. Indifferent or undeferred. Mired & acquired like megastore & other strangers, quaking tight wire high-strung as any inbred, come hither & yon. Matchless, snatching at strays, way past our prime, primed to receive & appreciate yon niggling bits of interaction, amputated & regurgitated to the tune of the latest flavor. Unless & until your request for a menu (denied). Your request for requests (pending) (amalgamated) (agglomerated with all & sundry, lost & clamoring, left). Still we kick & stamp, feeling our oats. Bask in rebellion. Lashed & shattered. Waiting for the boss to resign. Or breathe. On the tongue: a taste for origins, brutish & brief. Or swallow. & consume this rabid fancy of emergence.



Say What You Want

to ignore, poised & teetering. Reach across this bloody chamber floor, clamor with comrades clambering for pale rays grasped like straws, gasped & ghostly. Sipping light like salamanders, cave-bound. Too much to explain & not enough, roughly speaking. Approach the nurse if you want to die, or don’t. He too being helpless & alone. While together we breathe this need with naught to achieve. (& none to accompany). No life straying hand in hand, chasing crumbs. Illusive mastery to renovate our wayward cells, cast our failure on the drowning tide. Let the winged & weightless others laugh & scatter or else turn their backs in witless pity ‘til we exit with more or less than run aground.



She Tried (I)

to internalize complexity. At first this led to one wandering eye & a convoluted appetite. So she tried to fatten up on cherries. Cherries, peaches, & a certain amount of fear.  Fear of succeeding, but also the other thing (to the swell of strings).  Fear of cracks in the edifice, no matter how solid & stable. Like the stone inside the fruit, still & quietly violent, waiting for its chance to replicate like no tomorrow. She thought she understood. She thought she wanted more. She thought what mattered couldn’t compensate for all that floated off on every trivial breeze, each wandering current, each & every desperate dispersal.



She Tried (II)

to internalize simplicity. At first this led to albinism & a continuous, irrepressible hum. So she tried to starve on cherries. This was her second attempt. Her star-crossed savior told her this might be hit or miss, but she wanted &, impossible as it was to believe the opalescent shells of her lobeless ears. She knew none of it would color the outcome, another consequence of their stony hearts, their glossy inclinations, their personal alchemy of hope & denial, & their resignation to all things climatic. Also their numerical liberality + whether or not a certain worm would get there first.  In another version, her evil twin might very well snap & gnaw like a rat on a baby’s finger. But she was convinced he’d be none the happier, nor more wealthy nor well-fed.



Susan Lewis

SUSAN LEWIS is the author of seven books and chapbooks, including How to Be Another, from Cervena Barva Press, and State of the Union, from Spuyten Duyvil Press, both just published. This Visit is forthcoming in 2014 from BlazeVOX. She is also editor of the on-line journal Posit.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2014

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