Monday, November 18, 2019

Cut A Hand From A Hand by Tongo Eisen-Martin

“if you reverse the car any farther,
you will run over all the scenes in the back of your mind”

I never cared for teachers…just the pattern of fainting spells induced by wall art.
Propaganda is courage, man

The price sticker hid my tattoo
-I treasure my problem with the world

“My mother becomes from Brooklyn first thing in the morning”
-a proverb around these parts
               proverb or peasant entrance password

Writing short notes to famous Europeans
On the backs of post cards
With ransom requests

They reply with a newsreel or cigarette announcement (I can’t tell the difference)

-Noble dollars then you die inside
(but only inside)

“They call it, ‘sleeping deeper than your stalker.’
And stalker is all that badge makes you,”
says a great spirit dressed in the bloody rags tuxedos became

meanwhile my punch is feared by no one
“Proud of yourself?” I ask the fret hand

“Porch Lights” is what they call our guns
I’ve seen this house in a dream
I’ve seen this chair on behalf of a dream

               I believe a trumpet was the first possessed object to fly

“keep going,” she cheers

               the draft in the room becomes a toddler
obsessed with the altar
the altar becomes  a runaway train
               got a thousand paintings cascading down my skinny arms
                                                            Dictionaries piling up to the window bars

basements called dope fiend cocoons
crowd into the part of my mind
referred to as my heart
-a reminder to the population that
your blanket can work with
or against you-

human reef/
we will be a big human reef
for concepts that finally gain a metaphysical nature
and they will swim around our beautiful poses

we stop being flashbacks
then stop being three different people
then I was alone [the pistol is one city away]

one of the drug triangle’s lines runs through my head
tap the bottle twice and consider the dead refreshed
“don’t you want to rest your bravery?
don’t you want to be a coward for a little bit?”
-back and forth to a panic attack with no problems nor fears

a man gets a facial expression finally
a Friday finally goes his way
his life is finally talked about happily in his head

I can’t possess the body of a hermit
I must be the last of his smoke
Now running away with three blocks of alley
Tucked under my arm
You ever see a man
get to the bottom of his soul
in a car ride down a missing cousin’s street?
half step to the right
I mean I took the whole car outside of history
Half step to the right
I mean a whole pack of wolves stepped to my left
-Deep in the recesses of the main recess

“road marker” is what I called the light bulb we had for a sun
                                                            a whole civilization might slink to the sink
                                                                                          chain gang shuffling next to a sucker

-the long look in the mirror [a stack of money starts talking from four cities away]

Tongo Eisen-Martin is a poet, movement worker, and educator. His latest book, Heaven Is All Goodbyes, published in the City Lights Pocket Poets series, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and won a California Book Award and an American Book Award.

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