The Parts of the Body that Stink

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unescaping the way others can
with flush
you live to breed bacteria
once a day, for food and air
to find at last
the smell
that really is you

what is funny
on the nose
is beyond waits new
around one understanding

what is the smell of the trap?

how old are you, someone asks?
you look around, see no mouths at all
you sniff the air
when you are hot, you’re bothered
you sigh sigh

your hands curl into a ball like a monkeys paw
to think of how monkey’s smell
the great apes and their reeking fur
all over the jungle

children don’t like you
and you don’t know them
it’s lovely to talk to other people’s cats
cats who smell very little but you don’t be fooled
they know when you’re around inside their little pink triangle noses
and they tell
they tell others and they come
and you hide
and you run
and then you get worse even
and then you cry
and that is why
the cats smell the blood on your back
dried and flaking
and that is the only reason they like you

they smell the smell of your unwashed fingers on the way back from where you are coming from

luckily you
the permanently odorous
there is the internet
where smells can’t
for relief
but you still search seeing smells on sites

as your own bitterness

the more of you creaturely insistence
the more the internet seems made
in meaningless without conquence
you revel
smelling
onions
which smell like onions
you sit naked, hot underneath your clothes
in leather,
your star sign stupid glowing the dark,
your avatar aflamed
your back clean
typing writing with a nameless scent of technology

*

as comforting to imagine, like tagine,
you can consume the earth with ingredients
that hide you

for a mammoth slab of rock is your kitchen,
and is well good cooking, you learned it

and don’t worry about why they are alone
or what others smell
or how one is that way
sensorily

but instead ask
smelling old breast
why won’t it cook through the suace?

why is spice?
you sneeze and worry for a second
thinking you won’t smell well again

but cannibal dreams

you watch the terror
mock crawl
across your room
in
pieces of human

you eat skin
from your
neighbour’s
dish

you think where is anthrax?
oo almonds

you think lavender, old dog, you squeeze

where is rancid mushrooms, or mossy

where’s the cemetery?

hunger has
no
its limits

you smell the food in your fridge you check for expiry
the diary is expired
so is the cathedral city
the pesto has the mold on it
such a different colour but smelling the same
the vegetables are all gone but it is the black banana
you hold to your nose

stay put, you think, I’ll be back in a minute
this will mash against my skin I can put it nowhere

the new dignity is to say nothing
as double nature was never so stupid
as to when two eyes two lips two feet both right and left
became two nostrils

be yourself the ad suggests
but what if yourself stinks of fish?

then you inspire others and join the sea where you will actually be accepted
underwater

 

 

On Surrealism and Poetry

If there was a time that made Surrealism, and that that (millions of scholars will tell us) did not appear from the ether, then people, like me, who are not of that time, and cannot imagine it, will inevitably try and follow them. That is the way I chose to look at it, rather than saying their influence is so pervasive that almost everything can be said to be surrealist inspired, which is a tautology, even if understated. I think of surrealism when people suggest experimental poetry should be more popular, because surrealism is popular but not many people are aware of the poetry itself, specifically. So that’s comforting then. And so what I take from surrealism is first knowing I cannot be where they were to do what they did and so I shouldn’t. But instead take them, in and out of context, as encouraging what lies within me as an instinct. That things are pretty weird, and my work should reflect that. I also like psychoanalysis while finding it mostly terrible when taken too seriously. This probably goes for surrealism too? But in my work, people would see surrealism I think, often, in the actual texts. But what are they seeing? An endless uncontrollable confusion at realists considering things to be containable and everything is fine yes yes. I think that too maybe, and perhaps my contradictions are the most surrealist things about me. I like the poems, and I have been very directly influenced by Tomaz Salamun, who I knew and I admired and who helped me and mentored me, and this personal connection to him, expands his amazing work in me, and he has some incredible touches of the best of what people think is surrealism.

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