Last Ten



My books of jokes is 100 pages long but the only joke is that language is never funny.

The mirrors shame my reflection into believing it consists of nothing but light. I can’t see myself. White permeates my retinas. I trace shadows on the floor. A man walks down the street out my window & I hear him humming a song that makes me freeze with terror. The song makes me feel like a ghost, like any reality I encounter is purely fabricated out of a desperate refusal of my death.

He is now next to a tomb but refuses to enter. An absolved fear, lost to pure anxiety. Symbols mark the walls. The entrance to the tomb spans to void, like dark. Heavy stone walls like being buried in ice. He turns away from the tomb to squint into the sun. There is no event. Turning back toward the tomb, he sees a small patch of milk euphorbia edging the perimeter. The plants glisten like polished mineral. No image. The next two steps include walking forward. This sand is hot, his map has been rendered illegible by the drip of sweat. He still cannot move forward. The glare from the sun pains eyes. Think of static & terror. No one knows what’s buried beneath.

I write vocabulary words on a chalkboard & sing hymns. To exhaust the prose poem like money. No reserves.

I am a little girl. Side step, side step. Buttering biscuits next to mommy. “Mommy, can we play puzzles later?” Mommy doesn’t turn but acknowledges with her mouth hole. It unpucker-opens like an anus and a liquid smoke seeps out, tube-like, increasing in length and girth like a readying-phallus. I try to grab it, as always, but she punches me in the stomach and I drop the biscuit. Side step, side step. It’s covered in dirt, hair. Mommy’s black mouth pipe separates and floats towards the ceiling. Hangs there with the others. Yet another thing I can’t reach.

Side step, side step.

I am still a little girl but bigger. We moved twice but my ceilings still blacken with the things I reach for but can’t get. My mommy tells me, “Swimming lessons, broccoli, homework, bedtime,” but I don’t care. Nothing matters as long as the black covers the ceiling, as long as my arms are short. The black is all there is and I can’t get to there. Side step, side step. It hurts. (It will always hurt)

Still bigger, then bigger still. My walls are coated now. The madness is, I can reach it but I can’t. My legs have doubled in size, my arms long with fifty dollar, painted nail fingers. I have cognition. Side step, side step. My mommy looks to me for playing puzzles, buttering biscuits, mouth smoke yet I cringe away; my walls are too black already. The easy-reach so difficult impossible, all my strength goes and I slip into the whirlpool and spin. Side step, side step round and around, toilet-bowl style but earth-turning pace. What I want within my reach as I turn turn.

Repetitive, no hope big girl, woman. The black, sticky. A nicotine film. Side step, side step. My dreams are one only; my manicure scraping the black, making patterns of the white underneath, collecting the want in my palms, rubbing it against me, absorbing the want and how I imagine the getting feels.

The whirlpool, so warm, incarcerate.

Side step, side step.

He’s mad at me again. I’ve been a loud uncontrollable thing. I crawl into the bed at night and soak the sheets. So he puts the little rat in my mouth. He says: swallow the mouse. First he insists that I suck on the fur and clinch the tail between my teeth. Feel the little whip lash between my lips. Worship is done this way: take one life into another. Get my tongue clawed up along the way. Fuck the words. I never deserved them. That’s why he stays quiet while he shoves the rodent in.