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Ari Apr 2020
every night i’d wash my face
brush my teeth and urinate
say goodnight to mom and dad
before it got very late
go right by my sister’s room
without a hitch in my walk
close my door, turn off the light
and set the alarm on my clock
i’d climb into my bed and put
a pair of earplugs in my ears
and try to disregard the sounds
which i still hear throughout the years
the bathroom was next to my room
and every night she’d visit there
she’d drop down to her knees and tie
her hair from her face to prepare
then shove her fingers down her throat
until she felt her magma foam
the ejecta of a human heart
vesuvius at home
#1705 - Dickinson
Volcanoes be in Sicily
And South America
I judge from my Geography
Volcanoes nearer here
A Lava step at any time
Am I inclined to climb
A Crater I may contemplate
Vesuvius at Home
Ari Apr 2020
"Rag and bone shop."

I keep hearing that turn of phrase as I change
my daughter.  
She was born early and under
Her mother was worried.  

I was horrified.  My sister wasted
away for years.  Gradually.

I cannot unload the skeletons it seems.
Ari Apr 2020
I build an altar, parade in the streets
**** on a sugar skull, stamp on your grave.  
I want to weep, but instead I write
words like skeletons that leap and click their heels
grinning with jaws of orange like choked marigolds.

I wear a warren of jade, a den of ivory, a lair of shells
to wake the dead with a dance.

Why do the catrinas resemble you as you live?
Why do the calaveras still smile and tip their
top hats mockingly at your tombstone?
Alone in the colors and candles, I row this mariposa
dipping my paddle like sugarcane in taffy
reverberating grief like a sack of chattering teeth.

From Ocotepec to Patzcuaro, masks mourn
their losses, stars are pulled from the night
islands are invaded, bones rattle like marionettes
bells seek their towers, corpses leave their caskets
crosses fly like kites, feet clap in a frenzy
mayors deliver speeches, waves stutter ponderously
souls are exhumed from tobacco smoke
yellow ribbons cascade from the deaths heads
and we all dance like madmen, the dead grieving
the living and the living grieving life.

Is this the red chaos that you gulped down, the
dagger that distended your stomach?
Who draws from the pail that draws from your well?

Your body is half water.
You will rise with the moon and pass as we all dance like madmen.
Ari Apr 2020
In the end it was obvious
that you had lost control
of your powers,

that a reversal
of polarity had taken
place, that your soul

was no longer
able to keep
its compass aligned.

Master of magnetism,
manipulator of metal, seething
dynamo pendent

from an electrified
web of your own
spinning.  You could attract

or repulse at will,
forge steel with a thought
or turn stone to ****,

and on some nights, you would lift
your hands and orchestrate
the hiss of the northern lights.

But even a superconductor
requires stability, down
in its inner coils

so when your stomach
began to brim
with starfire and steam

and you waved your hands,
your blood bubbled
into hot little ***** of iron

filings, and ricocheted under
your skin like the remanent shreds
of lost continents.

We begged you
stop, but your hands moved
again, slow and heavy

along the curves
of your throat
and so the fields went feral

until your fingernails spewed
a red fog  
and the metal ripped

from your dry flesh
trailing flame like a meteor.
Still your hands

stirred, tendons snapping
as your salt formed
at the joints, snarling

into tiny effigies
of the dead that came
before you.  The same

as you.  And you were left
a shrunken husk,
as paper drifting

on the thermals, gaping
dripping and brittled, scalded
bone, swollen void.

You were still there
but your eyes flashed pyrite,
and there was dust

on your breath.  We spoke
of iron calcium potassium
your depleted core

sagging into itself
like an ancient mine
stripped of ore.  

Then there was nothing
to talk about, save
the inexorable call.

And when it came, I hurled
the comics away and thought
perhaps mutants are real after all.
Pendent is a different word than pendant. With a different meaning. #justsaying :)
Ari Apr 2020
Nothing says I’m proud to be alive like a yellow Beetle
With fresh flowers in its vase
I remember when the Honda was folded by a loaded pickup
And you emerged from the wreckage unscathed
I was never worried
That car could have been halved one hundred times
But your tiny body would have found a space to exist
And when you fell to the road I imagine
The first thing you did was ask the drunk
If he was OK
I shake my head and smile
You were covered
And there it was a week later in our driveway
Like it was beamed straight from your heart
To the asphalt candy yellow and pulsing
You were so proud to be alive
For the first month
You changed the flowers each second day
Then the next year
You replaced them once a week
And the next
Once every two weeks
Until I imagine you barely
Thought about the flowers at all
And I remember when I came home to see
You for the last time
There it was in our driveway
Its vase empty
Ari Apr 2020
Tel Aviv

He swears he saw the shadow of a dolphin below a wave here.  
In 1993
When they first came, he knows she saw it too. Her eyes
Widened, and they shared a glance and a giggle,
Like a wreath of bubbles, like a secret vault of blue.
A feeling, a vibration, the last echo in a chain of echoes below.

After that, Tel Aviv was of the dolphins. He came back
In 2001, and in the rubble of the Dolphinarium, he waited.
But there was nothing. When she visited
She did not even ask,
As though she sensed the void. It was unspoken. Then
He ran away from her in 2007. Seeking what?  
Or dolphins,
But still the sea was silent. Even when she died.

That night, in the sand, holding his legs to his chest,
The words of his friends lost in the surf, and the buzz
Of the world, bounding from wave to wave. Still nothing.
I want to be cremated ,
She always said. I want my ashes to be poured
Into the sea.  
But they bury their own, so their mother, she printed
Pictures for him to take back and burn.
I will do this he said.  

He did not unpack for two months. Then it was winter. Then
New Year’s Eve. And there had been rain, and there was wind,
And it was cold, and he said **** it.  
The kiosk outside
Was empty, airless, damp. He palmed a cheap lighter,
Dropped a coin, left.  
And he walked down to the sea,
Into the wind, the wet, the cold. The pictures in his pocket.

There is a jetty made of rubble, next to the Dolphinarium,
Where he returns to year after year. If he stands there
And listens he can hear the edge of the world, the sinking
Of bones. Behind him the city, before him the sea.  
And when he takes both in for long enough
He forgets which is which.

He went there and looked
At the foam forever, blinking away spindrift, the lighter
Turning in his fingers.
And when he pulled out the pictures
And held the lighter up to them it was a new year.

His thumbs are scarred now. The pictures would not burn.
He railed against the rocks. His throat fought the wind.
With every flick the flame was choked. And the lighter broke but
He would not stop but for a moment to wipe his face.  
He roared
Her name and spoke to her.  
But there was no ash.  
Just the city,
the sea, the wind.  
And in the calm before dawn he slumped
Home, the pictures, blackened and reddened, back in his pocket.
To be shoved away in some old drawer.  

He saw his mother
Later that year and she did not ask because she did not remember.
In the summer, he watched the jetty each day, but from a distance,
And noted how the silhouettes of fishermen reached
Out to the city in the morning then back to the sea by evening, distorted
With each swell.  
But he could not bring himself to stand
There. Two years in Tel Aviv and he could be no longer.

Then it is winter again, and a month before he is to leave,
And a week before New Year’s Eve.  
He remembers the pictures.
He meets a woman at a party and they make love.
He sees her every night and when New Year’s Eve comes, they plan to meet.  

Allenby is quiet as he steps outside, and the kiosk
Is empty.  
He drifts down to the sea without thought, carried
By the current of the city.  
Phone shaking in his pocket but he feels
Nothing. Then he is there, again.
His back to the city, crouched.  
On the jetty, alone, the pictures in one hand, lighter in the other.  
And the fire lasts for but a moment, and the sparks recede into the sea. And he brushes the remains into the dark, and turns back to the city.

Later, he will greet the woman with a rose between his teeth and Spring
In his step, and he will walk into the night with her hand
In his, and the call of the sea sounding inside.
Ari Apr 2020
When the floodwaters withdrew, he emerged naked
and raw.  He trod alone on sodden ground, *******
in air at the sight of a cloud.  
Yet he went nowhere.  There was no one.  
Finally, the Oracle took pity
and came to him.  While you walk, she said, throw
the bones of your mother behind you.  So he gouged
at the earth.  
With his hands.  With a *****.  With a plow.
But all he found was stone.
"This story was already ancient when it was adapted for the biblical text—which is to say, it records a very old fear. Like all old fears, it has the uncanny feel of a vivid memory. It may be a memory of an actual flood in an actual Sumerian city, Shurrupal, ca 2800 B.C.E. In fact, it may be even older than that. Perhaps it’s a fear that lingers from our earliest memories as a species: that the waters from which we escaped will one day come back for us, reclaim us. This perhaps is why, in a later Greek version of the flood saga (Plato mentions it, and it was in pretty wide circulation in the classical Greek world), the goddess took pity on Deucalion and Pyrrha, and offered them some survivor therapy: walk forward, she said, and throw the bones of your mother behind you. Deucalion correctly interprets the oracle to mean that they should throw stones—i.e. the bones of their earth mother—behind them as they walk. These stones turn into people and, thus, humans reclaim earth. We post-Freudians can’t help but hear a developmental insight in this oracle: excavate the bones of your past, your trauma, but put them behind you, proceed forward. The water didn’t consume you, says the goddess, but do not let the traumatic memory of it stunt you, either."
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