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no (weapon)

you do,
you realize that this
weapon carved of bone and the
simple, black bile of
the last evening of summer,
sweet and bitter and escaping,
will only serve to bruise the flesh
that, in wet strips, i wrap my bones in.

it cannot remain
if it is used against me,
it will crumble to fine dust and
mingle with the dirt along
a cliff edge, muttering a curse
at nothing that i can control,
being so pale and frightfully stupid,
so close to a nothing, a hum, a gasp.

stumbling along,
reducing plowshares to pottery shards,
my arms are the branches that sails hang on
but i am too stupid to feel the weight,
my eyes are closed, the sun is white
against my back and thighs,
undone and incomplete, shaped into tubes,
bent and scuffed, a patina emerging in swirls.

Sep. 5th, 2009

it isn't, couldn't

by Jeremy Magee

it is in the earliest parts
of my morning that it sneaks in,
beneath the sharp surprise
of honeysuckle thriving
in the full moon's unwavering eye.

pervasive and dark, it deepens
an ancient grip on my tongue,
refusing to let go of the horrible
thought it conjures, the broken
dish, swollen face and feet.

the gurgle, the clap of
the hardwood floors, buckling,
seeping, exhales pushing dust
from underneath the shadows,
a spectral finger in my thighs.

today, though, the sun was peeking
up from a swollen, vodka-shaken skull,
and the honeysuckle won, climbing
onto my chest and opening my mouth,
tasting so sweet and completely foreign.


the gunk

it is as if
my brain has been scooped
out from the ivory basin
of my skull with the adroit
motions of a surgeon,
ensuring that i will
keep my bottom lip slack
and tighten my thighs
as i scuttle from moment
to moment, trying to breathe
through my skin and, so far,
having no such luck.

God exhales!

by Jeremy Magee

red light breath and
a purple stalk of grass
that withers in the wind,
held by a bit of string,
infinite and dense against
the milk-stained backing
of a new black sheet of paper,
the clouds of our mouths
growing deep and wet
before the hot slithers
beneath the cold and they
dance in the electric fields
they created, atop a pile of
orange flowers, blooming
and spinning as God exhales
onto all of us.

winter in the lilies

it is within
the disquiet of
words that fall on your
heart like the first winter
snow in the late fall,
as the leaves are cracked
and raw beneath our calloused
heels, our faces new to cold
and fat and tanned, that is when
the bridle is hard against
our teeth and we feel the
sprouting of lilies
in between our ribs
that bloom out
of our open mouths
to the pleasure of
our Lord
and Savior.

gang aft agley

it may unravel
as if to spiral
off into the navel
of the destroyer,
a fat ribbon where
my hopes are stitched
and my dreams are
intertwined with gold
threads, to be consumed
and reseeded as despair
and black, rotted corn.

but the Planter who
holds all ribbons and
stitches all threads
will wind and resow
the seeds that fell
from my hands in the
swift stream of
a storm that was
never seen or felt,
cold and dead
on my tingling flesh.

To My Father, on His Birthday

i wonder, when i was born,
when you first held me and spoke
life to my new, purple body,
did you know that i would write
this to you, hoping that
some of the illumination
you have given me
might be returned?

i wonder how much you know
about how i love you
and pray for you daily,
how i speak of you to others,
my gratitude a field of wheat
growing beneath my smile,
to be harvested by
those with me.

i wonder, on your birthday,
if you wonder about how one day
you will be a grandfather,
and that my child will love you
and learn from you as i had,
picking flowers and bugs for you,
hoping to please you, as i did
when i was a boy.

to my father, on his birthday,
i wonder if the day will be
anything like i hope, brimming
over with the light of the sun
and the call of those who
know you who can say
what i say now,
i love you, happy birthday.


i would silence that tongue
with a dropper of silver,
placed near the wagging ridge,
down through the thick
of the throat,
hesitating until your lungs
are heavy and full of the
newest breath of truth,
a closet door opening
above you, sweet turpentine
dripping onto your comically
large knuckles,

a gaping mouth and the knife
eyes you have made at the sun
might soften a bit at
the brother's lament, a fire
around the doorframe you
are passing through,
smoke on your skin and managing
even to slither in your hair,
as a blankfaced man
approaches you, eyes closed.


i love how You
are calling out to me,
deaf as i am,
and when i do not turn,
You shine a beautiful
light and when i
am blind, unmoving,
You take the fingers
that shaped the world
and deftly place them
on my shoulders
and turn me 'round.


clutching some hot
kicks to the thick
of your chest, there
is the pause, pocket
clutch switchback
and an open mouth
with fast track
swagging back
tongue and cheek,
a clumsy unwrapping
and tossing aside,
an entire person
in three tracking,
open stacked,
hacking coughs.