Once, I let a doctor stick a tube down my throat,
I was so broke, and take pictures of my esophagus
and stomach for $200, the same year I wore
an Easter Bunny suit in Quincy Market, my furry
rabbit arms around tourists (I’m probably
in more of their photo albums than my own
family’s) to pay a long-distance phone bill.
Piles of pictures—the appraiser who comes
with his digital camera to rate our homes
for how much it’ll cost to flee them.
The drone in outer space just took
a photo of you scrubbing the toilet for
an Open House, where your realtor
will bring cookies and brew coffee
so the place smells like someone’s home.
In Pakistan, people in the same family now
sleep apart because they do not want their
togetherness to be viewed suspiciously
through the eyes of the drone.
Tony Trigilio’s newest book is White Noise (forthcoming, Apostrophe Books, 2013). Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Puerto del Sol, Salt Hill, The Seattle Review, Sixth Finch, South Dakota Review, Spinning Jenny, TriQuarterly Online, and 1913: a journal of forms.
I couldn’t get the newsprint
off my face & neck
after having fallen asleep
on the 147 express from Foster
to the water tower & what’s here’s
still hiding its grace.
Now it’s Indiana’s dud spring—
malnourishing a warped, thrashy cold.
Colorado’s snowy autumn, wicked & smooth.
All god’s children, hungry as asphalt,
growing vacantly in the skylot—
So, you did hear your name in the current?
Leave the past’s glorious wrongs
to the box they seep from?
The box needs not an opener.
Not much hinges on you returning to it.
What if I need to stay
in the hurt for a while?
You’ve confused pain
by worrying the stitch
in your sleepy paths.
The medicines of the era
want a passage into your threading.
What help is on the way?
Help is not on the way.
A song for all my messengers
down to the one & so
into the lyrics’ cadences’
throb’s feel underfoot in the grass.
A yellow line to follow
into the nonvisible
like drifting in after a slash
of piss through the strange ventricles
of the city’s basic unknowns.
What would it mean to follow it?
Running out through the easement
up to some alpine clearing?
Or to the ocean?
It’s the song of threshold
so say it again
silently in your mind
& carry it off with you
What a long winding sheet
to feel through the news
not unlike the tindersticks
to white material.
So let us out?
Or, let us back in from without
for us to begin
our set of unthinkable tasks
to separate from one another:
Baby from breath,
fox from lilac,
sink water from hand cupped,
& a sorrow from the sinew
of the four thousand ligaments of the neck.
Joshua Marie Wilkinson (b. 1977, Seattle) is the author of Swamp Isthmus (Black Ocean 2013), The Courier’s Archive & Hymnal (Sidebrow Books 2014), and, with Solan Jensen, directed a film about Califone called Made a Machine by Describing the Landscape (IndiePix 2011). He lives in Tucson, where he teaches at the University of Arizona and edits The Volta and Letter Machine Editions with Noah Eli Gordon.
How come guys like Bill Murray and Charlie Sheen
get to beat women and not go to jail?
I don’t care if they beat them with their mouths
or their walking sticks,
they should go to jail.
They don’t. It’s their money.
Really, it’s because they’re just children with big feet
and we don’t like to put children in prison,
children with money in prison with big feet.
Or maybe it’s because they have figured out a way
to jump out of an airplane naked, hair on fire,
while sitting on a couch
in front of the big screen
watching The Cubs smash The Ravens
over a bottle of single malt scotch.
How come guys like Bill and Charlie get to beat women
while they’re high on single malt scotch and not go to jail?
It’s because they have names like Bill and Charlie
and America is a pretty simple place.
What if they were named Matthew?
It’s not a simple name
but it’s the name of the first book of The Bible.
That’s when Jesus gets born. I’m not saying I’m Jesus
or that Jesus beat women
but it’s hard to keep your boxing mitted hands off the ladies
when you are named Bill or Charlie.
What if you were named Billy Charlie? What then?
Probably a lot of middle school kids would’ve made fun of you
and that’s the reason for all your violence.
I’m glad no one made fun of me in middle school.
I’m glad I’m not a funny, idiot movie star who, in public,
makes people bust a gut and then goes home
and takes out the spatula when things get sticky.
I’m sorry to anyone I’ve ever hurt
even though I never beat them.
Honestly, I would love Bill and Charlie’s humor that makes money.
I don’t care what they say about me, if I did,
I would never raise my fist even to a baby, especially a girl baby,
even though, once, it crossed my mind
when I was very tired and didn’t have enough cash
to buy the diapers.
Matthew Lippman is the author of three poetry collections, AMERICAN CHEW, winner of The Burnside Review Book Prize (Burnside Review Book Press, 2013), MONKEY BARS (Typecast Publishing, 2010), and THE NEW YEAR OF YELLOW, winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize (Sarabande Books, 2007). He is the recipient of the 2010 Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize from THE AMERICAN POETRY REVIEW.