• Mad Gleam Press

Trying to Release This Hold on Myself for the New Year

weather 5 by Claire D.G., 4x6in, linocut monoprint, 2016

Do not ask me any questions.

I will always answer truthfully

though my answers may mean nothing

to you for, in truth, I know nothing.

Do not ask me for objects.

I will always offer what I have on me

though these things are only temporary

on earth. And, in truth, I own nothing.

Do not give me orders, nor make demands.

I will aid you in those ways I can

though you will need to help your hand

first. In truth, I can give you nothing.

All the days of my life have been spent

making sense of the formlessness of life.

I am now a thing of nothing

in a world made only of material

understood only through abstract trade.

My hands have fallen off my arms.

I cut out my tongue one night in New York

when I lay in bed, entrapped in a stoned paranoia

thinking of the many shames of myself

which are themselves formless, infinite,

and, ultimately,



That big damn fly keeps moving into the minefield of my vision

as I try to read a book of poetry from a distant acquaintance of mine,

who happens to be a far better writer than I. Each quick movement

awakens the frightened ape in me, as though this black blur were

a set of eyes in this low tree I call a home, waiting for me to fall

comfortably enough into a set of lines that only just capture

the limits of a future mastery, so that I am easily captured

by the careful mastery of what I imagine must be its own familiar jaws

in the wake of my own beautifully awed distraction. Time holds

its breath; evolution takes a step back to observe the consequences

of its absurd decisions. Humans and flies refuse to understand

each other's complicated places in the dense mirage of their own lives.

And somewhere, across a small handful of decaying fences, "Basket Case"

echoes across the neighborhood, bridging memory, desire,

and the audacity of other silly cliches, which vanish, then alight again

in those invisible spaces between quickly strummed notes,

small as atoms, which themselves hold an emptiness

as vast as that emptiness which looms above everything, forever.

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