Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2015  v14n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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On Flesh

Not the body,
but its bad
alibi. Its black
& blueprint.

Whole summers spent
at Messiah Baptist gave me
a hundred ways to kill the creature
that lived in & as my skin.

St. Paul had a whole thorn bush
in his. Whether this was metonym
or mere approximation of the shape
& texture of a wound too florid

to forego mentioning, I was never quite sure.
But what is sureness to the shoreless?
When certain certainties fade
& every part of you poses

itself as open question to a world
it knew best through the lens of legend
(myth & maps & dead men with one name)
how do you re-frame the body’s conversation

with itself or other selves? And where is the self these days?
And what is the body but a bag of blood? And what is love
but an excuse to melt into mad, wet math? And who can stomach
the math of meat? What does the animal have or not have

which makes its body not a body, its death not death
as-such as Heidegger or a devout Heideggerian
might say? Who is to say where outside begins
& flesh ends? Perhaps we are all just webs

of blue information intersecting, collapsing
across strata & calling it something else,
something other than entropy or decay, a turf war
with time. So many names for breaking into this life

at angles unplanned & unknowable. It’s true.
There is much to be praised in this house
of lightning & dust, this sloppy armor
we yearn to move more beautifully in.  end  

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