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2 poems

by zach blackwood

zach blackwood is a poet and contemporary performance curator in philadelphia, pa. he is the author of SEXY UNIQUE HOLLOW POINT (glo worm press). he has poems published in peach mag, occulum, bedfellows magazine, maudlin house, and elsewhere. he is available on the world wide web @blackwhom.

aroma decline common program

          after angelica liddell / after gala mukomolova

recall the flavor of our conversations,

damp air words army-crawling over tongue,


flip it in your mouth so it lands again and sizzles

new. you can’t know anything fully until it’s over.


when i say, i have already begun to mourn

our time together, i mean what i said, i mean


i have stared through us in a long mirror, seen

you alone through windows and thought that


person looks like they’re chained to themselves

“i’ll wait for you” sounds beautiful in any accent.


recall seeing an idol in the canteen: fandom is kind

of love, but distant and performing itself. reconciling


her curling lipstick with the version of her she played

last night: beating her chest, real-wailing, “some of us


exist without ever deserving it,” and isn’t

that it? translated us fighting and not-fighting


against this wili? this shapeless nameless?

this placeless? sheer veil, opaque veil,


what matters is the weight intimating the shape.

the new work peeled imagery from Victorian Hidden


Mother Photography: the idea that beneath

the blanket, there is mother holding you


and keeping you still. in a crazy way my life

flashes before my eyes in every banal half-thing:


sneaker falling to catch a stair that was never there

and my heart do stop. and there it is: me rollerblading


or really just being dragged by a dog, affections snagging

in the carabiner earring of a boy who speaks italian


and german and french and spanish and just

smiles when i talk, and a hundred museums audio tours.


and somewhere, pinning all of it to floral sheets—

there is you, unable to grasp anything after 2009,


humming  top 40 and shrugging when i ask you

the title. there’s a gala poem about your dead body


climbing up next to you, but if i look it up,

it’ll shrink me to swallow size again. washed down


by a beloved. perhaps even performance:

time-based. you’ve got to be there or miss it.


i love watching people fight in french: singing shallow

and spitting vodka in each other’s faces: it’s a threat


to throw each other onto the train tracks. i’ve been

saying that lately instead of fall on the sword,


dying gut hugging steel inside rings too familiar.

speaking of through windows—there’s a photo


by martine franck. another inside-baseball portrait

of a white master and he looks so different, skin matted


out by the oozing glass. i saw a play about chat.

that’s a reductive description: it’s a threat


for so long the difference becomes a virtuality.

it’s not a thing, it’s just closing the windows


so the day can’t wedge figures in, parking

us in my blind spot with the hazards on,


just trying to find a place we can sit still

for free. i’m wrapping my skin green


in cheap chain jewelry and chlorine halos.

i want to pray forever until the air goes

heaving pink and the particles love-flush.

so, whole plane goes wave field synthesis


until we can whisper to each other through

thick hotel sheets and distance weaves itself


flat between two warm metal plates.

my molt-white iris trained on desire


while its density undulates. a beating

heart you can move through now. instead


of the earth turning on the vamp-in-the-box,

imagine the light turning black each night:


whole days burning like white toast:  aroma

as indicator of                                       decline.


two doors in the vestibule, and i can count

every unperishable thing in that stride, that span.


i imagine myself sitting upright in my casket,

marshalling myself through slime membrane


and my childhood dog is there, barking approximations,

and smelling like a used-up citronella coil.


an object can radiate pleasure on the palm, and still

be repulsive. species like specialization like mutated:


i could be a whole pack of wild dogs under this soft

organ. you could be 1000 honeymoons perforating


a bolt of blue suede, and i wouldn’t know,

you could be here right next to me: inside


suit of swords: a matador’s inflamed red cape

riding the heat like a slouching motorcycle.


generously turned on memory spit,

golden and aromatic after raw potentiality


not a gift, but a transaction. i turn us to this,

and we move aside: burn the braid closed for fantasy.

heavier-than-air craft

bent over a hot toddy in socks: capacitated.

this is the sick i convince myself: peel my lips off


for. hunched to the sad dance banger

soundtrack liquid diet amnia ride. big toe


in-line, loose knee, tight thigh i feel

close to you. how do i know you're not


a motion sensing faucet

light or an object absorbing it


lol as in l-o-lucent:             cocked

like most things, it’s cooler on fire


i feel embarrassing like we all do, fuming

incandescent, i just want


my ration of adoration. i had a crisis of faith once

and it felt like the rest of my crises. aren’t


all ways big bands, meaning fat circles

threatening to snap and hold rational nothing


all the same anaerobic circuit

oxidizing gums. body growing holes in its self, every part decaying

on its own time: a canon—you grow older and your parts


celebrate their phased birthdays. striated data: knives

thrown end over end, pull a hair on your knuckle and feel it in your tricep: the big learning curve


of harm and where it enters and where i keep it and i am bodysurfing to melbourne beach

riding my own skin to happy toast cafe


a gathering of men on the street is called

a “complaint”, collectively, grammatically:


gestures: a safety smile on a fake telephone call

peel a strap from a depression in shoulder


and replace it. like this is so all of us

its none of us at all. at all soft as it is elapsed


days pass with my thumb pressed down

a fingerprint drafts itself in old warmth


watch any dance and eject:

there’s so much based on this


that doesn't know it's based on this

there are so many days


i am just


the first dance on what will be called

city ballet. a bell ringing modernism into


i am just reading a lot about particle theory

trying to divide by myself until i know i am just


a memorial: a torch burning in the sink. an hour

ago i drank cold water from a stem glass


felt sexless and also

felt godless you can feel 2 things on top of each other

such that their causation becomes mutual


like two balls of clay in the dark,

you might reach for one and feel the true of neither


might reach for a partner and find a white terrorist

in philadelphia. i'm in a meeting about something


and a man says "really all we need is power"

he means a socket, like something to plug in to


but he means for free, or for me to pay for it.

that's heavy-handed because it is true.


Clean & Clear: that's my great aspiration:

translucency. i want my whole body


poured unassailable. i want to be cough syrup,

bright primary color: half-decanter, half-vessel,

half-stem, half-glass,


half-dependent on the hand

a liquid sculpture to firm earth


describing god as a kind of whorl

describing god as cauliflower ear, there

are whole rooms architected for lucency, for confession.

there are high ceilings

where god can hear us, there are soft chairs


god is here in spirit. in every stitial. thhink

about a schoolyard: you think the song is


about feet but it’s about the ground, about

it bending under.

another radical white queer is borne out


again as gay porn star reply-guy, falls right

out the twitter bird's snotty little


nostril, implied eyebrow tweaked like a pert nipple,

as pleasurable as it is desired or asked for. these men


fall from the sky with their feet pointed,

with their sharp toenails growing out their jaws,


still hungry if they’re just pressing us flat

i leave a roomful of gasping breaths


and wait for my skin to dry. i check


my dm requests and they're a cylinder,

as in revolving, as in chambered.


like i finally know what to do in silence.

care is not a thing you do to me


in spirit, in essence. in absentia.

in this essay i will convince you


there is a wound without blood,

without pain, skin healing without cartilage


a hole you feel as a solid vacuole

your earlobe is changed forever

your earlobe is changed forever


and still is as vapory and subjective

as an earlobe

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