MICHAEL MARTIN SHEA
from I’M SORRY BUT NONE OF THIS IS MY FAULT
I never asked to be born into this life. A ziggurat bows before its people. A dog shits according to its whimsy. The clouds amassed in the western oval before settling themselves like fat grackles in the branches of the pear tree. Hegel was a little bitch with an ornate member. An apple lurks amongst the spell books. Depression hovers like a drone. I log in to erase the details of my birth from the Department of Psychic Registration. Nascence drifts through the HVAC vents. Ants know and fear death, which makes it fun. The foul rivers are afresh again. Salmon: dead. Oysters: dead. Monarchs: dead. Yet the prince of thieves still reigns supreme. Am I sullen, wanton, or full of semen? Am I joyful, erogenous, or slowly dying from some rare form of cancer? History will look unkindly on what we did to blogging. A lost ball descends into a better world.
A menagerie of sirens announces the morning. A portal beckons from across the pond. At the party I describe seeing my own heart on the monitor as an aesthetic-religious experience and am met with an incredulity that borders on violence. Debt descends upon the garden. Music misses its other. Each morning I stand at attention to salute the elaborate interstate networks of my youth, soon to be consumed by the sea. An email says eat plantains! An op-ed encourages you to buy a gun. Profits are caught in the drain trap. A crane collapses into hysterics. A mystic chokes to death on a pretzel. What comes next is a more sadistic form of baseball. There is nothing to be done about the inestimable sadness, but at least it’s tomato season. Say what you will about 9/11, but it certainly wasn’t dull.
Bass drops into the forbidden registers. A crystal surfaces in the north. I never liked drugs as much as I wanted to, too prone to the kinds of interiority not depicted in “the movies.” Flesh edges into a compartment. The magi speak of a new horror in delirious tones. Each morning I find myself wishing for the sight of cleavage or a new wall calendar, some small pill to ease the long hallway of day. Sunlight glints off the amplifier. Panic crashes like a horse. My mother said that life is a progression from oneness to twoness to multiplicity, as if it weren’t up for discussion. A ladder arranges itself in the kitchen. A militia assembles in the hills. I’ve found a lovely pink cloud to inhabit, to decorate and think inside of, pacing madly like a swan. It feels like the warm fuzz of a space heater or the thin prick of a flu vaccine. November drips like an icicle. A street urchin slays the mighty airline magnate. Under the eye of the atavist. Under the deep harmonium of brain.
A woman abandons theosophy. The libido falters in the face of a slashed budget. A shooting solves a problem. I wanted to go out and party but I also wanted to cultivate the kind of nuanced complacency available only to patriarchs in the golden age of capitalism. A hornet requests a hearing. The salutatorian ventures into the swamp. Each morning I ask for a kind of stillness that will accept me into itself like an extremist sect and then roll over to read the news on my phone. Thursday again? Lunch time again? Vehicle crash with multiple injuries, police on scene? I like black coffee and what it feels like to watch a tomato seedling slowly push upwards through potting soil in a year of unfortunate dying. My fingers stroke the length of your duodenum. The woodland creatures pitch their tents in my throat. For six years I have hunted for the words to describe the type of ego death I experience while listening to this Spotify track. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
When you die, you’ll take me with you, like the icecaps. A pubis breaches the bathwater. The bereavement attendant saunters on the lawn. The talking heads were surprised by the gunman, though they soon were thick as thieves, the masses, or the dictionary. When the trinkets crack, then the bad thing happens. Poach my brain in a soup of pornography, anesthetize me with assfucking, melt my spine into a supine position, avenge my tormentors with a retinue of dog dicks. Rubber-neckers hover over the republic. Jackals cackle in the armoire. Mostly I’m amazed to be still capable of such grief, gasping for breath in someone else’s robe, in someone else’s vision, in someone else’s familial structure, yet detached from my body and marveling at the spectacle of it all. Hens cluck at me from the houses of the wealthy. Tattoos linger like a viral load. When this dream ends, I will join a militia to hunt oil executives through the lazy canals of the eastern seaboard. A bullet buzzes like an alarm clock. There are no good trains to place your head in front of anymore.
Michael Martin Shea is the author of three chapbooks of poetry and hybrid prose: "Soon" (Garden-Door Press), The Immanent Field (Essay Press), and Comparative Morphologies (above/ground press). He is also the translator of the Argentine poet Liliana Ponce, and has published two bilingual chapbooks of her work. His poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in Colorado Review, Conjunctions, Guernica, Fence, jubilat, New England Review, Poetry, TYPO, and elsewhere. He lives in Philadelphia, PA, where he is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania.