You could only scare
Me more as an actual
great fun to visit, even
better spread on toast.
I cracked and ate an
Egg today. Some of you may
Understand that feat.
A slick spill of a memory stains my mind
And spreads through my body like a science
fiction disease. I can feel my heart beating in my stomach
my stomach my stomach pounds. Apparently the heart
fits right inside so I can feel the ventricles pulsating against
the restless walls; a shaking echo remains in the mouth.
And I imagine, somewhere past the teeth and through the mouth,
an elementary school project lurks in there, controlled by the gears of my mind:
A volcano with paper mache crooks and tempera paint capillaries against
a layer of little ducts where acid comes from. I’m no scientist,
but that’s what I imagine. Something unwell is working in the heart,
conjuring the foaming and the pus in the volcano-stomach.
It seems so obvious that my brains and my stomach
are tied and inseparable. And in the mouth the mouth the mouth
a thought gets caught which sends a signal down the throat to the heart
and a wave of memory sent rippling over gray matter, pricking my mind,
sends a companion wave through my viscera. Memory trumps science
leaving my organs in a morbid dance, a pinball game of reflexes against
the delicate tissue lining my every square inch, and the winner against
a memory coating my heart and clogging my arteries. A poison in my stomach
filters through my blood, my bile, my humors. Conflation of science
and pseudo-science leads me to a deep understanding of how my mouth,
speaking of the medieval certainty of the body as four simple components, and my mind
are basically the same thing. Both chew indefinitely on what poisons my heart.
I can only make sense of myself in my heart my heart my heart
as four ancient components, which seem too complicated compared against
the simplicity of pain. So I think I have three parts now: a mind
(located due north of what can only be described as the stomach),
a stomach with a heart inside, and a horrible taste in my mouth.
And so I am laid out like a cadaver, for the benefit of science.
My flesh is slit, then pinned down to a wax palate and the scientists,
but not those who become woozy near such things, only the strong of heart,
prod gently with gleaming instruments. And the whispers flood from their mouths:
“Everything has been consumed by the heart, while the brain, against
all rationale, seems to be commanding the heart to be eaten by the stomach
and to leave only the pulsing and the taste in the mouth to be savored by the mind.”
And when they left, I became a useless burden on science, railing against
the collective knowledge of the link between memory, heart, and stomach.
All that’s left to remind them is this angry thought and an acrid taste in my mouth.
Yesterday, we walked across the crust
that the July sun had baked hard, separating Brooklyn
from everything else. We played baseball in Red Hook and battered
the crust with our sneakers in a park near the projects.
At a bar late that night, we drank beers from anodized buckets of ice
and listened to our folk songs and the clack of bocce balls banking
off two by fours around the court and rolling away. The banked
shots, curling improbably, grazed the pockmarks in the crust.
Spent cans of High Life and Shlitz, once packed deep in ice,
now cluttered all exposed surfaces. My pint of Brooklyn
Lager, a deep tint like the sandy bocce court’s, projected
An amber hue over my hand as my eyes lifted to watch the next batter
step up to face Martinez (this was all before his leg got battered).
I can’t help but remember, someone once told me that banking
on the Mets was a mistake. Men from Queens are projects,
not prospects. A hand takes my shoulder, leads me over the crust
and out of the bar. Looking down the street, there are miles of Brooklyn
ahead. It’s a hot night, but inside, that beer is still in ice.
He turns on the car and the A/C shoots at me like ice.
“Turn that shit off,” I yell. “Put the top down! Let the wind batter
our faces tonight.” Love is easy in July and men from Brooklyn –
well, they’re all Woody Allen and Spike Lee to me. And I’m banking
on this one just loving me as we drive over the crust,
down Ocean Parkway, towards Coney and the sunrise over the projects.
This sand is filthy but we’re in no mood for a project,
so we sit among cigarette butts and crown-like caps bereft of their icy
bottles. The earth had crisped over, and on the beach, the summer’s crust
seemed to separate us from everything else like a thick layer of batter.
Sleepily, low tide licks the shore like it was a riverbank
and the orange early-morning sun brings me another hot day in Brooklyn.
We had covered from Red Hook to damn near Rockaway in a single day. Brooklyn
had unfolded, and in its concrete palms, offered us something great – a project.
Before heading back, we stopped to watch old men playing handball, banking
shots off a tired wall coated in Krylon. As the orange faded to broad daylight, I craved iced
coffee, some sleep, and a long ride back through the borough to soothe my beer-battered
brains. Oh and how Brooklyn rose, concentrated, fortified, above the crust.
And when summer ends, some number of days after today, Brooklyn will be shrouded in ice
and bare trees will project black lines over the snow which will cover my battered
neighborhood like a cold crust. But I’ll save today in my mind, like it’s some kind of bank.
Haiku isn't an
Appropriate outlet for
Sure, I'm a bit cold,
But that's no reason to play
Christmas music yet.
We are a City
Recouping our million small
Steps, our local trains.
Mutant genes create
Not very "X-Men."