Partial Inventory of Airborne Debris
Small wonder I recoil
      even from my own
worn image looking back
 
where I always find it
      looking like it’s trying
to warn me something
 
unspeakable is coming:
      Item. I stand before me
in a haze where people
 
can be made to want to
      make people stand
precariously on boxes,
 
arms wide open, strange
      hoods pulled down
over human faces, little live
 
wires hooked to various
      parts of the bodies
ridden on like donkeys,
 
smeared in feces, stacked
      one on top the other
for a photo to prolong
 
the swell an accomplishment
      like that engenders. 
Item. What kept us from
 
discovering our selves’
      worst wasn’t the lack
of evidence so much as
 
a failure of delivery, a kink
      overcome through
the push in technology
 
we’ve all had a hand in
      one way or the other.
Item. Looks like anyone
 
can be led as soon astray
      as to slaughter, disappearing
down the long ill-lit
 
institutional corridor
      misadventure unfolds
one synapse at a time—
 
and to presume immunity
      may be a symptom.
Item. In time I begin to
 
lose sensation, thoughts,
      I’m not complaining,
dropped a sedative in
 
tapwater and watched
      its demonstration on
what we have in common
 
with a sunset, gradual
      change and all the rest,
difficult to paraphrase
 
to be honest but I’m not
      complaining, it’s like being
detained indefinitely
 
but with three meals a day
      on a tropical island!
Item. Looks like what’s
 
done in my defense, or in
      its name, or in my
interest or in the image
 
of the same, no matter how
      distorted, fattened up
for laughs or plain dead-on,
 
connects to me by virtue
      of an invisible filament
over which I can claim
 
no know-how, no management ,
      no muscle to speak of
(anatomical or spiritual),
 
what can I do, I can feel it
      tugging again, what have I
done: rotisserie chicken,
 
homestyle gravy, mac
      and cheese, a hot biscuit,
sweet potato casserole—
 
admit it, I’m on the fat side.
      Item. As when a putz
collapses to the dance hall’s
 
floor and the pianist stops
      his performing mid-
waltz, always an angel
 
in a large brown gown
      bends over the slowly
reviving body and says
 
Don’t stop Paul we need you
      now more than ever,
whereupon Paul, without
 
much thought, without
      the burden of thinking,
sits back down, picks up
 
where he left off and plays.
      Item. Or say a dream wolf
found my room by scent,
 
entered it, climbed upon
      my sleeping throat
and camped there just to prove
 
its point, and when I woke
      up I feared I’d never
save myself or even under-
 
stand what from without a little
      alteration, meaning I
myself must somehow be
 
the wolf, and all the rest
      must just be television.
Item. Only in the ion-
 
rich atmosphere around
      a waterfall too immense
to be nostalgic did I feel
 
what I now know to be
      “the feel of not to feel it.”
Item. Actually I’m doing
 
much better now, maybe
      a little, what’s the word,
soporose, I guess, I think
 
maybe I just needed to
      work it through and now
in its wake I feel a little
 
what was it again, a little
      soporose, that’s right,
that captures it in a way
 
no other word could ever
      even hope to, I suppose,
I just feel soporose, so
 
soporose tonight, uniquely
      soporose. You think
I should be concerned?
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