the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Marc Jampole

If the Chemicals in Our Bodies Could Talk

The part of him with feelings jumped out of his skin
making him feel he was stronger than before.

He understood from twitches in his ear
it was really chicken jumping over moon,

really blinded cats running to the knife of the wife
of a farmer with his thumb in his eye, not a pie.

Easier to see the parts of me that scatter, farmer said,
like dogwood seedlings swimming north for winter.

The part of him with feelings scampered under water,
then dog-paddled earth while singing of singing of song,

like the ego that shatters itself or a bridge that falls
in the mouth of a pitifully angry egotist.

I want my ego back, I want the farmer to be me,
but drown that tune like cats on water moon

and speak to me instead of flesh that tantalizes
speak to me of flesh that knows the here and now.

So we swallowed his talkative silence
and watched the part of him with feelings

stitch its daily twitches into passionate clutch
of other splintered egos waltzing into walls.


Still Life with Sugar Bowl, Radio and Pain Pill

Ebullient abulia, feel that feeling
           of nonfeeling, no words, just sounds,

           midol tampax nyquil kleenex,
in a soup bowl of sugar and sunlight

following the following announcements
the general generally speaks in generalities,

the general paints in blood
            and never stays within the lines

or is he part of the nod?,
following orders, wake up, wake up.

When you’re ready to take a break
break your takedown with a break-dance

or blow a sluggish sound,
stand inside the sound and shout,

            wake up, wake up,
don’t wake me, let me

pass from solid state to vapors
             by the action of heat,

repeat a monotonous hum like a string,
hum like a string to repeat to repeat

a question of questioning attention,
pass from vapor state

              to solid action of the cold
marked by dripping certainty.

Years ago, someone lent me sugar in a dream—
            let me fall asleep again so I can give it back.



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