Someone Else’s Esophagus, I

        after the Slam Poet Jon Sands

(who taught me ‘how to skank’ aka how to write poems)

 

if my life were a poem it would be called This is Not About Me.

it would be a heroic couplet, unrhymed,

in someone else’s notepad.

 

each time my mind would sit still, your body would applaud.

there would not be a dark place in my

soul that is only brightened by someone else’s

Chula sauce;

 

pablo neruda would read my words;

when you fail to pay attention to

whatever you are trying to read or pay attention to,

me or pablo neruda would slip underneath your skin

and paint pictures of poets

in neutral colors

 

(grey and blue would be not be permitted)

 

fun would be an escalator transferring my throat both ways.

i would not need stitches

 

(if my life were a poem, i would have enough stitches already).

 

i would write a line that would make someone else stop reading.

 

someone else would have introduced me to great poets like jon sands,

patrick rossal and kevin devaney

a lot earlier on, before they were poets,

when they were just great, and could have

been someone else’s uncle or

nephew or dad;

 

they would not yet have learned how to skank

for my amusement, or for someone

else’s notepad.

 

the letter S that fills each page of my notepad from 2010

would not stand for the days that i was Silent,

for some Song i didn’t sing,

but for the Secrets that burned against the walls of my throat

and for the Skank who never found them.

 

if my life were a poem,

i would be a chula sauce in someone else’s

burrito; i would drown myself to spare

a stranger’s tongue.

 

my secrets would be a dance named after

everything i do in my kitchen:


a discolored refrigerator-

 

the graveyard of cows,

 

fear and loathing of the

     lost wedges

of cheese.

 

(it is altogether possible i would not own a kitchen

if my life were a poem).

 

and if i saw one more picknicker in Wonderland Park lugging

his tupper ware to a plot of grass that was not his,

i would not need to prove or diss or disprove anything.

 

my mind would shrivel up as i squint at the sun.

my body would become

a concentration camp if or when

you speak to me again.

 

the letter S in my journal would stand for

Someplace where there are no billboards,

where the smiles of strangers don’t

belong to strangers at all, they belong to you,

before you became someone else’s bill-board or

burrito or chula sauce, or just someone else’s.

 

the letter S in my notepad would stand for

Someone else’s esophagas, for the

stars in arkansas that look like

ink from a pen that refuses to dry,

for the smile of a stranger in texas or for

some part of the sky that is Some place always orange

and a bill-board that always asks me how long

until i believe in eternity again

and why don’t i trust myself anymore when

i go to a bar and neil young starts bending the guitar

like a car can bend around a telephone pole

and there isn’t a seat in the house

that doesn’t look like the rubber clown

suit who has swallowed his own blubbery

nose or tongue.

 

if my life were a poem,

the letter S in my journal would stop apologizing;

 

it would speak to spare someone else’s esophagus,

it would stand for all the syllables

in Tomorrow, it would stand for your silent applause,

 

it would stand for something,

it would start tomorrow.

 

it would be Some place not a poem,

Some place where to learn to skank does

not mean to learn to swallow.

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