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BlazeVOX [books]
Cleaning the Mirror
by Joel Chace
(BlazeVOX , 2008)


This last meal could not have been my only porn,
could not have been my only easel—
This last sentence could not have been
the practitioners floating in my head,
flowing into yours,
my only eugen-o-pool
my only criss-cross match
my only everything, except yours
in the last whip and crack,
my medium circus, my vaudeville campaign
slurring perfect injunctions, were I ever to slur again— 
The Genius Dress was far too small,
a random pie far too gone,
too eaten am I to be holding on
a product I conducted in the language of fathers,
“We are drunkishness, bric-a-brac, torn saddle, backlash.”
This immersion has made me a model
for your captivity digest, a cavity
just as clean as we birthed from dust, far ago,
as a picture-piece buried in the rounder tree hollow,
this slanted night, this aptly-divided instant scoring
on lovely knees, unwilling to burden forever, a pear tree.  


Come on police, arrest this night,  
this yesterday’s surgery  
in mythology calmed 
that distribution is always an argument, 
an asparagus in soil shoots 
out maths that lack 
the leaks that make them leaky, 
evolution in the roots, tiptoeing about 
a pregnant Pi of news icons 
and other conformities meant 
to be a way toward community,  
lost sight, crashed body, soporiferous 
cured, lies thinly in between— 

Do my limbs not bleed when you cut
them back?  The ghosts
I used to be become the oceans that I breathe, the people
that I see become easy mosquitoes borne by a river disguised with stingers. 
I check my cheek violin before I speak
where your protective fur cradles your throat, the hollow
in my own time, a rock
to fondle against the grudges worn down by
earth’s salt and sand, my face smooth with years upon it— 
Except the holes that open my body to my soul
leaking out—you can’t always have something to say. 
I reach for my apple unplugged from its Styrofoam boat,
thrown all the way from Cypress,
waiting in the reeds, leaking quietly aloof—
A part of the world untouched by typhoons and people rotting— 
Suddenly, I’m a little more stupid
toward the dry earth with her happy grasses that remain vertical
in wind.  She asks, How do you find your friends?  Kill
your enemies, your strangers who never smoothed
your ruffled hair, restless with wind you never owned and stroked? 
The recent words of friends
have padlocked me in to this land, a love
for the drift of security,
and this pen is too shy to call the waves against us aloud. 
Such movement is out there, occurs
to me even after my arm has hit the water, recedes into horizon,
and I am one of them drowning until I am
back on land in night. 
I watch the man in line take his turn, hate
his place ahead of mine, rent a film called, “Porno”, watch as I disintegrate
from the teller’s background, my half-tux wrinkled by the gesture.
I am here, “Next” now – I cross myself and tongue my way home.    

And who wouldn’t?  This burning arm holds the olive pit
to her menstrual cycle.  We were meant to avoid
discussion.  They still have them?  I mean, “Women”? 
The mythology goes a branch took root
and gulped the sleeve of the planet in one signature orgasm.
Eve, she wrote. 
She turned into me, one vine in swamped-out marshes,
drying on a clothes line, crusted with love and a lunar eclipse.
A twinned wine asks of his entrails sloppy directions.   
A hook nose and I’m forgotten.  I’m the lesser multiplication.
I eat black flesh and reconstitute dementia. 
The sore in the mouth that crunches, who owns more? 
A bruise that sticks to the teeth.  I am a kettle that holds
only water boiled.  I whistle and spew, “Give me a whistle,
some part of words,” when you pour me over the fire, 
Forever I am the worm by the ember that glows. 





four poems


amy king