Arsenic Lobster poetry journal
Issue Twenty-seven
Winter 2011
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From the Book of Tongues (30)
George Kalamaras

And give me your darning needle tongue.
Your trombone quiet slides through dirt,
echoing my careful and my hunched.
I’ve gathered precisely 117 verbs.
And now you tell me we are out of linseed oil.
How can I go to sleep
if you keep reciting the list of breakfast foods
we cannot eat? Yes, I was dispelled
from under their tongues for begging the streets for seeds.
One of their sparrows even entered my mouth.
Upstairs, the Miró with no face
resembles my mirror reassembling rain.
It’s cold, it’s wet, and every spark
of me is somehow tied to this Book of Tongues.

Which is why I could never die forever.
Which is how I agonize the geranium
tea a rain-shade gray.

Give me your darning and your poor
daring. That needling trombone that trades wind
for brass whenever two or more of me are gathered
in a game to conceive my linseed name from salt.
Alchemy is overrated as a pelvic exercise.
Your duodenum, your strengthening sex
organs, give secret confiscated pleasures
primarily to dust mites on the sheets.
Microscopically large, our smallness
inflates our intimate regression.
Even the Zen monk grew fatigued
with koans and refused to press
his rake tenderly to his lip,
even when he bent to it and sighed,
We cannot “yes.” We most certainly will not “maybe.”

Which is when I investigated the reeling powers of salt.
Which is why I ingested your maybe and your most.
Which is how, why, and when
multiplied by the sun in their sexual parts.

And now each night before sleep
you repeat we are not linseed oil
and say the closest cow is seventeen miles away.
I refuse to eat myself for breakfast
unless you sprinkle me with malt.
Sweet person release, remember my mirror
is in pieces like seven years without debt.
We might pour through one another
as saliva from tongues
works to invigorate our word.
Especially our tissue, our beneficial bone.
We might peer to the floor and see ourselves
optioned out in fragments so large
as to shard us with names broken off
from part me, part you, part
rain-stoked shame upstairs without Klee or Sage or
fraying my face. Taste, for once,
Miró’s amoeba-ridden self. Call it
Kandinski, call it Remedios Varo. Slide me
your trombone water with your only and your voice.

About George Kalamaras

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