FIVE POEMS by DANIEL BAILEY

IT IS TIME TO BUILD A WEBSITE OF FLESH AND BONE AND TO MOVE INTO SAID WEBSITE AND FEAST

 

WE SEE A TOMBSTONE THAT IS A BILLBOARD THAT READS “TOO MANY PEOPLE”

 

I AM TIRED FOR THE WRONG REASONS

 

WE SEE A NATURAL DISASTER WHERE ALL LEAVES IN A FOREST FALL SIMULTANEOUSLY

 

MY LIFE IS FAR TOO MARKETABLE

 

WHICH NATURAL DISASTER IS THE MOST MARKETABLE?

 

EVERY NATURAL DISASTER HAS BEEN OR WILL BE MADE INTO A MOVIE

 

I WANT TO START MANUFACTURING TOMBSTONES OUT OF PLASTIC

 

MY PRODUCT WILL BE CALLED “TOMBPLASTICS”

 

BUT EVERYONE WILL CALL STILL CALL THEM “TOMBSTONES”

 

“NO AMOUNT OF RAIN WILL BE ABLE TO WASH AWAY YOUR NAME” WILL BE A LINE IN A TOMBPLASTIC COMMERCIAL

 

WE SEE A WASP ON THE CEILING

 

WE SEE A FRUIT SO BIG THAT IT RIPS OFF THE BRANCH ON WHICH IT GROWS

 

WE SEE YOU ENTERING YOUR CLOSET, BECOMING A SKELETON

 

I HAVE SURVIVED EVERY WAR THAT HAS BEEN FOUGHT DURING MY LIFETIME

 

WHEN THE NEXT ONE HAPPENS YOU WILL EMERGE IN THE FABRIC OF YOUR OWN BEAUTY AND COLLAPSE

 

 

SKYMALL HOLOCAUST

 

THOUGH IT IS NO SECRET WHERE WE ALL COME FROM I STILL FIND MYSELF TRYING TO HIDE MY WEAPONS STRATEGICALLY SO THAT I MIGHT BE FOUND VICTORIOUS AGAINST CERTAIN ANGELS WHO KNOW NOT THAT THE CLOUDS HAVE EVAPORATED

 

WHAT IS LEFT OF US IS A PATCH OF BARE SKY AND A VAGUE SENSE OF WHAT IS TRUE

 

BECAUSE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND THE RIGHT HUE OF LAMB’S BLOOD AT LOWE’S I HAVE PAINTED MY DOOR FRAME YELLOW AND COVERED THE YELLOW WITH BLACK

 

WE HAVE ORDERED OUR TOMBSTONES AND DEATHRINGS 11,000 FEET ABOVE A PART OF IOWA THAT HAS BEEN MAPPED AND THEN FORGOTTEN

 

YOU DISCOVER THAT LOVE LIKE ALL ACTIVITIES MUST BE PUT TO REST OCCASIONALLY

 

IT SEEMS TRAGIC TO DISCOVER THIS

 

BUT YOU COPE BY BUYING COMFORT ITEMS FOR YOUR DOG WHOSE OCCASIONS OF LOVE COME MORE FREQUENTLY PERHAPS, YOU THINK, IN A MANNER THAT REFLECTS THE DOG’S SHORTER LIFE SPAN, WHICH ALSO INTENSIFIES YOUR OWN NEED TO EXPRESS LOVE

 

THERE IS NOT A VOICE YOU WOULD TRUST TO EXPRESS THE WAY GOD FEELS FOR YOU WHICH YOU ARE STILL AVOIDING

 

I LOVE THE IDEA THAT THE SKY IS A WALL WITH A HIDDEN DOOR AND THAT BEHIND THAT DOOR IS MORE SKY

 

HOW SWEET IT IS TO WATCH TWO DOGS DRINK SIMULTANEOUSLY FROM THE SAME WATER ONLY MOMENTS AFTER PLAY-KILLING ONE ANOTHER

 

OR HOW IT’S POSSIBLE THAT YOUR BIOLOGICAL LIFE SPAN SIMPLY DOES NOT COINCIDE WITH ONE OF GOD’S FIERCE BOUTS OF LOVE FOR YOU

 

OR THE DOGMATIC SENSIBILITIES THROUGH WHICH WE ALL MUST DISCOVER THE TAME LOGIC OF ACCEPTANCE

 

TRY ASKING A LOVED ONE WHAT THEY WOULD IF YOU LEFT THEM, WITHOUT NOTICE, TOMORROW

 

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE

 

BUT THEN YOU ARE ASKED, LATE SPRING, TO LIE BENEATH A DECIDUOUS AND BLOW EVERY ONE OF ITS LEAVES OFF WITH YOUR BREATH

 

AND YOU INTERPRET THE DIRECTIONS TO MEAN “LIE FACE DOWN AND BLOW INTO THE EARTH” AS IF THE EARTH NEEDS YOUR INPUT

 

BUT WE ARE NOT BURIED FACE DOWN IF WE CAN HELP IT

 

WE DRAFT DOCUMENTS TO TELL PEOPLE TO TEND TO OUR BODIES LIKE A GARDEN OR A CANDLE AS IF OUR LOVES ARE NOT SICK OF THE TENDING

 

EXHAUSTED FROM ALL THE MOMENTS OF LOVE

 

BUT ALL THAT YOU HAVE ENDURED IS NOT ENOUGH TO RAISE A BANNER OR A PIECE OF STONE

 

YOU BUY RINGS IN THE AIR

 

THERE IS A HOLOCAUST BENEATH YOU

 

OR YOU IMAGINE THERE TO BE A HOLOCAUST BENEATH YOU

 

YOU BREATHE THE EXPIRED AIR OF THEY WHO MUST SIT NEXT TO YOU

 

YOU MUST FEAR FLYING AT LEAST A LITTLE

 

HELLO WEAPONS OF HUMANITY, I AM HUMAN, WE SEEM TO THINK AS ONE

 

BUT IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO BE HUMAN – I AM UP HERE LIKE A TREE

 

SOMEWHERE THE BLAST OF TIME AGAINST ALL TIME

 

OR THE CALM, HOLLOW ATTITUDE I HOPE TO ONE DAY STUFF WITH LIT FIRECRACKERS AND MAGNOLIAS

 

AND TO THEN COLLECT THE SHRAPNEL AND GLASS AND BE FULL AGAIN WITH WHAT I HAVE LOST

 

BUT WE SENSE THOUGH WE DO NOT KNOW

 

HOW MUCH WE WOULD MISS THE IDEA THAT OUR CARCASSES WILL RISE AND ONE DAY BE EXPOSED

 

OUR BONES THE CONTRAILS OF THE PITY WE MISTAKE FOR LOVE


 

YOUR SILLINESS IS TOO MUCH FOR LIFE

 

THIS SONG IS THE POLAR OPPOSITE OF LIFE

 

WHICH IS NOT DEATH BUT A CLUSTER OF ALL POSSIBILITY THAT YOU DRAG BEHIND YOUR BODY LIKE CANS AFTER A MARRIAGE

 

LO BUT HOW PLEASING IT IS TO BE FOLDED INTO THE RUG SCREAM THE DUST MITES OF MY SOUL

 

YOU WILL GO UNNOTICED AND INTO THE PALEWOOD FLOOR

 

WE WILL ALL BE LOST AGAIN

 

WE WILL VIEW ONE ANOTHER AS TREES ALL OF US LOST IN THE FOREST OF OTHER LIVES

 

WE MUST ALL WRITE OUR YOUNG ADULT NOVEL OR EVERY SECOND YOUR PUNK BAND DIES

 

BUT GRADUATE DEEP INTO THE CRICKET HEAP

 

BUT WAIT FOR A NEW STAGE OF GRIEF

 

BUT YOU ARE IN IT

 

BUT NOW YOU ORDER A BUMPER STICKER THAT READS IN MEMORY OF MY SON 1998-2016 AND NEVER RIP THE ENVELOPE IT ARRIVES IN

 

AND I AM JUST TOO FUCKING HAPPY TO BE CAST INTO A STATUE

 

AND THE FIREWOOD MAKE A GOOD HOUSE

 

AND SOMEONE IS ALREADY LOGGED INTO YOUR MACHINE

 

 

BELOW THE HOVERING ID

 

A BUG TOO SMALL TO IDENTIFY CRAWLS AROUND ON THE SCREEN

 

YOU FEEL CONFIDENT THAT BLOWING IT OFF WILL DO IT NO HARM

 

YOU LIKE THESE NIGHTS WHERE YOU CAN SMELL YOURSELF

 

THAT’S HOW INVESTED YOUR BODY IS IN ITS OWN EXPERIENCE

 

BUT ALSO HOW MUCH THE GRAVEYARD OF YOUR EXPERIENCE

 

MUST KEEP THE SILLIEST FLOWERS AT DEAD HAND ALWAYS

 

THOUGH IMPERMANENCE IS IN LOVE OR MORE LIKE HAS A CRUSH

 

THAT YOU WILL SHARE WHEN READINESS HAS GONE

 

TO THE INFINITE MOON’S TERRITORY OF ITS OWN SELF-ORBIT

 

OR INTO THE SEARCHLIGHT OF YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD’S POLICE CHOPPER

 

WHERE YOU WILL BE EASILY ID’D AS JUST WHO YOU

 

HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN PRESSED FIRMLY INTO

 

THE BELIEF THAT YOU ARE WRONG

 

WHICH YOU ARE NOT

 

 

YOU WILL LIVE A DREAM-FREE LIFE

 

YOUR DRONE WILL FALL IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S DRONE

 

YOU WILL ENTER YOUR BED AND YOU WILL CEASE TO EXIST FOR HOWEVER MANY HOURS YOUR SPIRIT WILL ALLOW

 

AND THEN THE NEXT DAY YOUR LIFE WILL BE SPIRIT-FREE

 

YOU WILL BREAK EVERY BONE IN YOUR BODY BY THE TENDER HUM OF YOUR LOVE

 

YOU HAD LEARNED TO RESIST YOUR OWN LONGING

 

TO TURN IT INWARD

 

YOUR TOMBSTONE WILL BE A GLASS HUMMINGBIRD THAT SPEWS SUGAR WATER FROM ITS TINY BEAK USING THE SAME TECHNOLOGY AS PISSING BOY FOUNTAINS

 

DEPRIVED CHILDREN WILL DRINK THE SUGAR WATER AND THEY WILL HUM THROUGH THE CEMETERY’S LEAFLESS CANOPY

 

YOUR LOVE HAS LEFT CONTRAILS

 

IT’S BEEN SO LONG SINCE THEY CALLED ANYTHING SIN

 

AH BUT WHEN WILL LOVE CATCH UP WITH ME, YOU SEEM TO EXUDE

 

BUT THEY ARE ALREADY WORKING ON IT

 

IN FACT, THEY ARE AT WAR

 

 

 

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