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No. 5  

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Marcos Neroy





When I was a kid
we used to have turtles


they would disappear
to never come back


one day we found
a cemetery
under the washer


where our turtles
dragged themselves


to writhe under the rumble
huddling together with the spin


reptile mouths open
shell pressed against the tiles


their hearts thumping
cold blood


I hear them



Voice on Demand

You love voice messages
or so you say:
I’m going to yoga class
but leave me a voice note,
tell me what you did today


Today… was an ordinary day.
I woke up and fixed some scrambled eggs
and coffee on my French press,
Ate some past due grapes.
Read the papers.
Applied to one job.
Considered working on my thesis.
Jumped, instead, for half an hour on an elliptical.
Then another half on a static bike.
Dined tuna, rice, salad and a kiwi.
I had a long siesta.


And then you asked me to leave you a voice note,
and I am leaving my voice, right here,
suspended, for you to take.


I wish this was an impressive revelation
of human nature, life, love, death:
many have tried to write
before my time
and failed.


Be satisfied,
this voice on demand
carries on all their mistakes,
the hem and haws,
the many breaths,
the absent speaker,
the void of desire,
a pair of sweaty yoga pants
worn by a sprightly red-head
who is attentively listening
to a silly voice note
and then the laughter of the listener,
the teasing end.




All Things Considered*

To César Vallejo, inspired by Viola Frey’s “Man and His World” (1994)

Considering || Man and His World made hereof in despair: || that blind clockwork of daylight || its fooled moon in spousal || the truss of seasons that lend support to this emptiness we call time || the shit populating our guts, looming in translation || the plagiarism of faces || abjection || ages || things nondescript steeped in our imagined languages || considering their amorousness || how a language, a nation, a straight-jacket can soothe || how a book can crack open an almond || how an idea can play dead for centuries || how we strangle whom we love || how we die after a wise-tooth extraction. ||


Considering dispassionately || the aftermath of a nuclear bomb observed from a Japanese mountain top on a hiking trip || the minutiae of baking decorations || the controversy of power output vs. forward velocity in bird flight || the invention of love || the impossibility of writing || writing about love, unheeded, Petrarchan, hackneyed || the construction of gender || mops || particle accelerators || the aesthetics of resistance || chaotic enumeration || Whitman || Darío || Neruda || Vallejo || considering the accretion of figments || the blah-blah that would bore both pastures and cows, if they could only understand || the possibility that a Wisconsin pasture may feel it is being ruminated upon || that art and pastures and cows have ways of knowing and feeling that we do not. ||


Considering as pure matter of fact || the uses of contingency || an aunt woken up at 6 am by her nephew and child to assemble the Playmobil Western Fort || a blonde twenty-year old serving macadamia nut ice-cream on a beach-stand || a Mormon tween showing his father’s 9 mm Browning to his host-brothers || a young man pulling his back out lifting a chaise-longue || a young woman fainting while she drives to work || a young man relapsing, burning heroin with his college girlfriend on a steel spoon || a young man informed he has lung cancer || broccoli is a bouquet || a young woman informed she has brain cancer || pecans are flowers || a young man found dead from an overdose in his Las Vegas apartment || all fruits are ripened ovaries || why children love anything that glows in the dark and books of 1,000 questions and answers. ||


* * *


*This poem was written for the Bridge Poetry Series reading, November 13, 2014 at the Chazen Museum, in response to the exhibition The Human Condition: The Stephen and Pamela Hootkin Collection of Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture.



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