I practice my signature like a child spitting
his name on the wood-bark and the lawn
one-billion times a boy but never enough
to word it quite so well : with the force of spit
I spit and trade spit : it is a magic thing;
A thing I dream of. A boy’s spit, well, it is his weapon
before he has arms to speak of or some
small hell to raise. To want to be wrapped
in the arms of boys and to seek their spit;
their signature, is an abandonment of your
own : it is crossing out your own name : it is
dreaming of someone who looks just like you
covered in wood-bark and grass shit : I sit here
with a page full of my names and there is ink left in the pen.
Before I even tell you what it is, I’ll tell you that I’m going to blame my father when it all goes south.
At a 7-11 somewhere in Boston : the one behind City Place where the junkified and moon-eyed go to get glared at, picking up ¢25 blow pops and Swisher Sweets: your favorite flavor. He : man-behind-the-counter is who will sell me my first pack of cigarettes / I will research them, carefully: my mother taught me to be that kind of shopper. I will ask for them like I’ve seen my father ask for them : with a becoming shyness dribbling out of a layer of bravado : he knows that he’s got heart disease and shouldn’t be doing this but he’s paying with cash so it’s almost like not buying it at all : I will pay with cash. I will smoke them like he smoke(d) them : with my ring-finger twitching and my eyes half-closed. I will smoke them while I talk on the phone with him, lucky-to-be-alive, you cannot feel or smell a man’s breath between 3,000 miles of Americana : too many confusing scents. I will smoke them and lie through my yellow-teeth about how old I was when I started smoking them. I will smoke them while I look fucking-cool, flirting at the fat college girls with pink hair and at the rows of beautiful college twinks with their winter coats : lined up on Boylston like little reminders or like little asprins : all of these things will be secrets. Down to the lint at the bottom of the pocket I keep myself in. If they are revealed : I will somehow tell my mother that I [simply] learn from the best and I will tear them up and toss them in the toilet. All that organic and tar will float there like sin-on-ice. I know that smell..
I fear the hard hilltop wind because of this house
of twigs. I lay lawful on this couch
of cat-claws; adjacent its twin : $550 of well-loved leather
and i’m thinking about something stupid like driving fast
or my father or my temporary organs : each are songs
full of anger. Somewhere above me
a crack sounds like a wild BB shot : nothing fatal.
I think It’s the central support beam. Oh, Its suburban burden!
It lives on top of a hill; We can see mountains and fireworks,
even on the days when people do fireworks.
I do not envy this house: It’s head of clouds and wicked wind
and rain and knocking birds. It’s burden. We burden:
and it can’t see the sunrise, even on the days when
the sun rises.
Somebody inside of my skin wants to
make the joke that the “sickest thing
in this place is this internet connection”
but I’m not sure if the joke will fly.
My father gets his catheter taken out :
the imaginary pain in my own penis reminds me
that I am a man and that I am his son grown.
He watches the Mariners and the Padres with his eyes closed,
snoring like a warrior. Every hole: plugged
save the one recently freed : doctors warned him
"don’t wet this bed." I am eight-years-old again
and I just wet the bed for the last time.
I think my father’s heart is a wi-fi router; unreliable.
I think it’s too soon to write this poem; as he pees in front of me.
Swaddled deep and rotting deeper
into my grownupteeth : a strawberry seed
like a little H-Bomb. It’s the kind of pain
that’s gotta learn to roll before it can crawl :
etc. : so I take inventory of them (my teeth);
they are party guests that have stayed so long
that I forget they’re around : until
something stupid like a seed burrows
deep in their meat. When I was young
I would stuff strawberries in my mouth
like seed into a birdhouse : i was
a hungry sparrow on the lookout for doves.
My gums and babbyfat jowls hung with
cankers that burned all night : now
I am told to fear the sweetness
or else lose a tooth for strawberry seed :
soon there will be a fields of red fruit
growing from my molars : fed by the rot,
they will crowd my mouth to the point
where every word bubbles up in juice-spit;
in acid; in white petals and petalblood.
The cankers will avenge : bloat and swallow
what mouth I have left. They will bloom:
I will choke: and this tooth will continue
its steady, crawling rot.