New York Tyrant

Two Poems
by Daniel Bailey

Jordan Castro

Two Poems <br>by Daniel Bailey</br>

                                                                                                                     art by Kira Scerbin


THE WATERFALLNESS OF THE WATER

YOU LOOK DOWN TO FIND THE MOSQUITO STILL ATTACHED TO YOUR FOOT

IT HAS DIED AND IS NOW STUCK THERE

YOU CALL YOUR SPIRITUAL SUPERVISOR TO ASK FOR ADVICE

YOU FEEL WATER OPENING UMBRELLAS IN YOUR CELLS

SOMEONE SAYS, “I’VE WITNESSED SO MUCH CHANGE IN MY LIFE THAT I WISH I COULD JUST THROW IT ALL IN THE TIP BUCKET AND BE JUST A LITTLE OF WHAT I WAS BEFORE NOW”

SOMEONE ELSE DESCRIBES HOW THE STARS OR MOON WILL APPEAR TONIGHT AND TELLS US WHEN WE WILL SEE THE NEXT METEOR SHOWER AND IN WHAT PART OF THE SKY

AT TIMES IT SEEMS AS THOUGH WE HAVE ALREADY MET THESE CHALLENGES AND AT OTHER TIMES WE ARE AT HOME WALKING FROM ONE ROOM TO THE NEXT TRYING TO IMAGINE OUR WAY INTO THE EXTRA ROOM THAT WE KNOW MUST BE THERE WE HAVE DREAMT IT AND WE ONLY WOKE UP BECAUSE WE CRASHED OUR DREAM FAMILY INTO THE HILL NUKED WITH FIREFLIES

IS IT INAPPROPRIATE TO FEEL THAT WE DESERVE SOMETHING FROM LIFE? 

I STRUGGLE WITH THIS ALL THE TIME

THOUGH IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT THE POINT OF LIFE IS TO EAT SHIT AND GROW, I STILL BELIEVE IN THE NUCLEAR FAMILY’S ABILITY TO EAT SHIT AND GROW BEYOND WHAT I ALONE AM CAPABLE OF

TO FEEL EXTINCT IS TO CARRY A LITTLE WATERFALL IN HALF YOUR CELLS AND A LITTLE UMBRELLA IN THE CELLS BENEATH

TO SAY “WE’RE ALL NAKED UNDER OUR CLOTHES” WHEN WE REALLY MEAN “UNDER OUR CONSCIOUSNESS THE UNCONSCIOUS, UNDER THAT NOTHING”

TO BE INTERRED, I RECOMMEND PRESENTING YOUR BODY TO THE EARTH AS A LEAF THAT HAS FALLEN, YOUR MOUTH INHALING THE WETNESS OF DIRT BETWEEN GRASS AND GRASS AND KEEPING VERY STILL FOR AS LONG AS STILL CAN BE SO VERY KEPT

"I’LL KNOW IT WHEN I SEE IT" SAYS THE LOVE AND DEATH SITUATION INTO ITS MINESHAFT

TONIGHT WE WATCHED BATS FLY ABOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD

AND YES IT IS INAPPROPRIATE TO FEEL THAT WE DESERVE SOMETHING BECAUSE WHO HAS ANYTHING TO GIVE BUT THE PRESENT SPACE OF TIME THAT WE NOW INHABIT

I AM A DEAD BODY PROPELLED UPSTREAM

I KNOCK AGAINST ROCKS AND REJOICE IN THE MUTED PERCUSSION

SOMEONE SOMEWHERE DOES SOMETHING WHICH IS HOW MUCH IT SEEMS

THERE IS A NEW BLADDER ATTACHED TO THE SKY AND LEAKING

THE BATS AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD SWOOPED AND SEEMED TO ENJOY THEIR FLIGHT

IT SUCKS HOW MUCH OF A VAPOR YOU TRY TO BECOME

YOU SAY YOU WOULD DRINK YOUR WEIGHT BUT REALLY YOU ARE ONLY TIRED ENOUGH TO BECOME SHITTY AGAINST YOUR OWN LIGHT

YOUR SPIRITUAL ADVISOR DECIDES THAT IT’S ALL YOU MAN YOU GET IT GIRL

THAT’S JUST HOW IT IS

YOU PULL THE DEAD MOSQUITO FROM YOUR FOOT AND A TINY STREAM OF BLOOD FINDS A PATH AGAINST YOUR SKIN

IT FOLLOWS THE INVERTED RIVERBED CREATED BY THE VESSELS LIFTING THE ROOF OF YOUR SKIN

YOU WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF AND EVERYONE ELSE AND YOU WONDER IF THIS IS FAIR TO YOURSELF

LIFE KILLS YOU AS LIFE MUST

HOW CAN YOU LIVE A LIFE AND NOT BE KILLED BY IT

THEY HAVE MADE YOU A GRANDPA AND ALL YOU DID WAS WATER SOME PLANTS

IT IS ALMOST LIKE YOU ARE POTTED SOMEWHERE ACROSS A WIDE RIVER AND NOW YOU MUST WALK TO ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST THAT THE RIVER BREAKS UP PROVIDING A POINT OF REST AND WATER AND AN EASY CROSSING POINT FOR ALL CREATURES AND A CURRENT THAT MIGHT CARRY THE SEEDS OF THE FOREST TREES FROM ONE PART OF THE FOREST TO THE NEXT UNKNOWN PART OF THE FOREST

YOU ARE NOT THAT FOND OF OPENING YOUR CELLS BUT HERE YOU ARE WITH ALL YOUR CELLS OPEN LIKE THE UNDERSIDE OF AN UMBRELLA AND IT IS RAINING INTO YOU

YOU KNOW THE SONG BEFORE IT EVEN PLAYS

YOU RIDE UP TO THE SUN INSTEAD OF INTO IT LIKE ALL THE OTHER COWBOYS

YOU STARE INTO THE SUN LIKE A PATCH OF DRYWALL

YOU HAD JUST DUG UP A KID WHOSE BODY HAD BEEN THE MUSE OF THE LAST THOUSAND SCREENWRITERS OR YOU DUG UP THE HILL AND FOUND THE STATUE OF ITS NAME

WE RIDE DOWN THE HILL IT IS BEARDED WITH TINDER

THE HILL FLATTENS AND THE BEARD BURNS

YOU ARE RIDING ACROSS YOUR OWN FACE OR THE FACE OF SOMEONE YOU KNOW AND LOVE AGAINST THE EVER-RISING RIVER OF EVER-RISING SUNS

THE FACE KEEPS FLOODING WHEN YOU REALIZE THIS

YOU WANT TO THANK GOD BUT YOU DON’T

WE WATER OUR BODIES UNLESS WE FORGET

I DRINK THE PART OF A RIVER THAT MOVES TOO FAST FOR DISEASE

YOU WISH TO BE THE THING THAT WAS

YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO THE DONENESS

THE WATERFALLNESS OF THE WATER

THE ILLUSION OF INTENTION IN THE FINAL THOUGHT

 

 

THE ALCHEMIST 2/∞/AND BEYOND

YOU WRITE THE WORD “NEAT” ON THE ROCKS, EACH LETTER SPREAD ACROSS 4 ROCKS AND YOU FEEL THAT YOU HAVE DONE THE CLEVEREST THING

UNTIL YOU THROW THE 4 ROCKS THROUGH YOUR OWN CLOSED WINDOW, MAKING THINGS NOT-SO-NEAT ON THE INSIDE

MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE FOUND 5 MORE ROCKS SO YOU COULD WRITE “NOT SO” ACROSS THEM, FINDING THEN 2 MORE ROCKS FOR THE HYPHENS, WHICH YOU WOULD THEN THROW THROUGH THE OPEN WINDOW, COMPLETING THE SCENE

THAT IS, UNTIL YOU THROW AN EMPTY SCOTCH BOTTLE THROUGH THE EMPTY FRAME, THE BOTTLE SHATTERING AS IT LANDS ON A ROCK LABELLED “O”

YOU REALIZE THAT YOU ARE NOT REALLY SO CLEVER BUT AT LEAST YOU CAN DANCE

YOU CAN DANCE WITH YOURSELF OR YOU CAN DANCE WITH SOMEONE YOU LOVE

OR YOU CAN HATE SOMEONE YOU LOVE, WHICH MAKES YOU FEEL PRETTY CLEVER

AND THE PERSON YOU HATE CAN HATE YOU BACK, WHICH FEELS PRETTY NEAT

AND THE PERSON YOU LOVE CAN LOVE YOU BACK WHICH IS NOT-SO-NEAT AT TIMES BUT SOMETIMES IT IS ALL YOU HAVE

THERE IS THE TACO BELL WHERE YOU MET THE PERSON YOU LOVE

AND THE DEL TACO WHERE YOU MET THE PERSON YOU HATE

AND THEY ARE ON OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE TOWN

IN DUE TIME (THAT IS: TIME THAT IS DUE TO YOU FOR WHATEVER REASON) YOU WILL BOTH BE FLOATING DOWN THE SAME RIVER

DOGS WILL SWIM UPSTREAM AT QUIET INTERVALS

IT’S ALWAYS A SHOCK WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS THAT YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING TO HAVE HAPPEN

YOU STICK YOUR NEWLY-LICKED FINGER INTO THE OUTLET OF AN ABANDONED HOUSE AND WHEN NOTHING HAPPENS YOU ARE SHOCKED AS IF YOU HAVE JUST SEEN A GHOST

WE FIND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO BE ANYTHING MORE THAN GRAY DOTS

WE WILL WEAR EACH OTHER LIKE UNIFORMS

WE WILL BEAR EACH OTHER’S SYMBOLS OF FAITH UPSTREAM WITH THE DOGS

YOU THINK IT BRIEFLY STRANGE THAT YOU DON’T PAY ANY ATTENTION TO THE SHADOWS OF OTHERS OR THEY TO YOURS

THE RIVER BECOMES SO SHALLOW THAT YOU STAND UP AND WALK

YOU FEEL THAT YOUR BODY HAS GROWN

THE RIVER DEEPENS AGAIN AND WIDENS

WHEN IT IS TIME TO CLIMB THE WATERFALL, A FIGHT SONG PLAYS BRIGHTLY OVER THE HILLS 

AND YOU CHOOSE TO LET THE WATERFALL BEAT YOU INTO SAND

WAIT, WHERE IS THE PERSON YOU LOVE, YOU THINK

IT IS COOL     IT IS HERE THAT YOU THINK IT COOL

THE PUMMELING FIGHT SONG

EVERYONE I LOVE HAS ALREADY BEEN PUMMELED INTO SHAPES TOO SMALL TO IDENTIFY   

BUT NOW THEY CAN MOVE DOWNSTREAM AS I WILL MOVE DOWNSTREAM

THE QUIET OF LOVE

THE DOGS LAPPING AT OUR FACES AS WE PASS

 

 

***
Daniel Bailey is the author of several books of poetry. He lives in Athens, Georgia, where he continues to revise his bio.

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