we’ve places in our properties for them,
lots for growing them into lots more for us.
in the places, there, we can watch them,
our faces like hands having want. we, beaten

by a cooler outside, said they got a coat kind-of-
a-skin sewn up on their body until—beaten
by the cooler outside—we slip them out it
to wear it on us and so we

are we, for we wear their skin for us.

by our stove-like imagination,
in it, they are a wad of living Crisco,
Crisco shut up in them until we cook it
out them, them out it, into a pan, a cut of them
fried in it out a can and into our mouths,
ground inside our mouths turning us into we-
who-wear-wads-of-body-in-our-bodies
and the wad’s bodies on our bodies and so we

are we, for we cook to enjoy this insiding.

times, we’ve agreements with us
to think for them impassive bodies what they think
our love is like, so we spin answers out slashed mouths,
snipped tongues, the splatterings beaten out their they
in our lots for growing us out of them:

we say they may say we are universes gashing Earth

or baboons long ago hardened into clothes

or that by their brown livings we guarantee us
they want in our mouths, to be our coats,
to tiptoe their they through our imaginations,
graceful as, doting as mothers sewn to cries.

no no no no no—our love is nothing but goodbye.
and how we only want to love it all and so

all of them.

 

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DOUGLAS KEARNEY’s collection of writing on poetics and performativity, Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection that Publisher’s Weekly called “an extraordinary book.” His third poetry collection, Patter (Red Hen Press, 2014) examines miscarriage, infertility, and parenthood and was a finalist for the California Book Award. Cultural critic Greg Tate remarked that Kearney’s second book, National Poetry Series selection, The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009), “flows from a consideration of urban speech, negro spontaneity and book learning.” Someone Took They Tongues. (Subito Press, 2016) collects three of his opera libretti. Fence Books will publish Buck Studies in late 2016. He was the guest editor for 2015’s Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan). He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. His work has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry, Best American Experimental Writing, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin, and What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Poets in America. Raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family in California’s Santa Clarita Valley. He teaches at CalArts. www.douglaskearney.com

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