you were born to understand
and teach lessons.
you were given a choice.
you chose this road
first, then the
present.


become an alcoholic to
find a higher power.
meditate occasionally to
see how well it suits you.
in between,
fill the emptiness with Oreos,
coffee,
a smoking habit you detest
but gives your fingers something to
do when you’re speaking anxiously
in public,
when the caffeine is rearranging your
tongue into metaphors and you
need a moment of pause,
clarifying to the audience
with a descriptor you
forgot.

run a 5K every three weeks
to give yourself a mission,
get back in shape,
hone your vision of
yourself.
bathe everyday.
tell the cat you love her
and pet her for an extra few minutes
before you walk for hours
to lose those new found vowels
completely.
pluck out your roots and
dead ends
hiding in a stealth spot.
begin a practice of voyeurism.
sit comfortably and
file your nails into sharp points.
when deadly,
lean into them.
write everything down.

start ordering your steak rare:
inhale the lost veal,
he lost zeal of an entire feedlot;
the scent of plasma and cud.
devour a a squealing colony
without remorse.
give cannibalism a chance.
you’re talking to yourself in public again.
the looks from the other patrons are fine;
they don’t bother you.
you remember them with skinned knees on
bathroom tile;  your stomach in
velvet knots,
your obsessive purge.
you remember them peering at you
in courtrooms,
you remember them in handcuffs,
in shackles,
side eyes from jealous brides
as you make a scene at the open
bar.
the way you’ve stolen, the way you’ve
groveled afterwards. the way they held
onto those wrongs and their
condescending pats on the back,
withdrawn.
how you’ve managed to
survive it all with gratitude,
without much impact.
you’ve risen to their ranks.

get your wisdom teeth removed
and then
cut them into daggers.
check out Home Depot,
ask for “industrial size”
ignore all the
are you ok ?
you’re muttering again.
read the directions,
this stuff is toxic,
don’t get it on your eyelids.
press the bone back into your sockets,
flick the canines,
gotta be solid.

smile:
you’re still celibate.
you’re still hungry;
avaricious, less slovenly from
all the exercise,
less addled than before
and armored like the night.
go back to the diner,
lick your plate,
click your tongue.
you showed them how starvations done,
you showed them how to roam.
you put your money where your
mouth is:
your gold is in the bones
you glued into your gums.
now you show them home.

your mouth is lined with
homemade knives, and you’re
pernicious.
you begin to teach
them how to
run on
instinct.

“incubus”

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