whelp (after aziza barnes)

by Zach Blackwood

my head is full of blood steamed like latte foam
pressing open the seams in my skull, 
burning through folds in my brain like a shot luge.

my head is the generating station in the delaware river,
developed into luxury condos with beds that fill the whole homes.
my head is a smoking suite with smoke stains in
the corners of the ceilings 
and the ice cubes smell like the smoke stains
and that is disappointing in an expected way.

and i’m laying in my underwear in every single bed,
rolling and sighing in the sheets
and taking notes
how do i feel here
what did i do here
how was the bounce

maybe a man is there smelling sweaty 
or like flat champagne sticky about the nape
and i like to feel wanted
or at least i like to be paid what i told that feeling i wanted.
or at the very least, i’m shoveling black sand into some deficit,
punching out, and watching the direct deposit cartwheel in at 3am.

i am trying to convince everyone that this is what i do,
i lay in the beds and turn inputs to outputs
and i go out with my friends when i feel like they miss me
and i make wry jokes about my own self-worth and my lonesomeness
and they laugh and i write about the things that they laugh about in language opaque enough that i don’t even feel it anymore.

and i am naked looking out a big window in a luxury condo
where my spirit is hung on a bamboo hanger like a bathrobe.
of course it is the 4am hour where nothing is provocative any more. i read a magazine article in some design rag
about the fire hydrant pumping station across the river.
without it, they’d never have built the station or turned the station into condos.
the fire would have burned in the middle of the river and the lights would all ball-gag themselves.

i feel very bad for the factory. does he like to gorge himself
in big sucks and swallows from the river just so that
people can tap it from hundreds of holes miles away?

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