The Mouth

Eat this, the paper being handy.
The spiny legs of a crab will tickle your pale belly,
like bony fingers pricking at a lute,
like pen nubs scratching across a page,
as he trundles off to hear a mermaid
sing a tune or two--
and where have you been?
and where are you now?
and how can it be that I've never known you?
that I still don't know you?--
and how is it that this loneliness, being still, comforts me?
still like a mouth open wide and waiting.
love the mouth biting, stabbing down,
chewing and slobbering,
and not with the heart, ugly machine,
does this come to be;
it is the brain--
the electric gun gray revolver,
the screaming mind--
that contains all this,
that is the endless horizon
not a box, but a hole,
a mouth
open--
this the natural state, this mouth waiting--
at least that is what my mind claims to my mind,
that loneliness is inevitable, natural,
protecting itself, as it is wont.
And it eats this paper in memory of one that comes after, or never at all--
then so much the better if never--let her
--you--
be made of paper, too, of wood and glue and ink.
I should perhaps embrace you then
and close my mouth on your crackling flesh

9/22/99, 10/14/99

Jim Genzano




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