by Victor Martinez


I don't want to remember names. Names stink of money, grease,

baby vomit and new clothes. Some stink of righteousness and

patriotism, others of sour deodorant and sweat.

Better to think of heaven: the boiling clouds, the light

like needles sticking into everything,

all the beasts so peaceful and tame.

Don't think it's save walking when the sign says WALK.

Don't think you'll get by on rent and food.

Just when you think you've got it, just when the dice

tap in line, all hell starts shooting up inside your anatomy.

Organs collaps, skin loosens to the pinch, burn spots

from gagging liver begin to sprout everywhere,

everything is rocking on ice, shifting on plates

and avalancing down a crotch.

Your heart is beating itself to death.

See that dog? Thats'a devil dog. It hates you.

It wants to scour your leg with cancer, pluck out your

ligaments, it wants to ignite arthritis in your spine.

And don't put your finger out, don't dare put your finger out,

because the pigeons eating meat now, and the baby calf

suckeld on milk and kept tender in total darkness

is buying a gun. Inside books

the trees are plotting revenge.

Something happend to the world for sure.

Sparrows flop off trees, choking on diesel fumes, squirrels

stagger around like drunks, from pesticides, from children's

candy. Rats, not landlords, are the true bosses here.

They wrestle the plate from your hands.

They shoot like bullets from one sewer of the city to another.

And don't jerk them around. Smash one and

tomorrow you got eight brothers, ready to settle accounts.

And no amount of talking's gonna spring you loose.

They've got the logic of prison lawyers.They've got

Shakespearean voices. they'll live to see

the last morning in your eyes, die.

Whatever happened to free animals, free trees, free skies?

They all got harnesses on them now.

They're all pulling the big post industrial plow,

or attached to pullies and curtains and floodlights.

They're props on a stage that's gonna crash down on everybody.