Monday Dec 04

BibbinsMark Mark Bibbins is the author of The Dance of No Hard Feelings (Copper Canyon, 2009) and the Lambda Award-winning Sky Lounge. He teaches in the graduate writing programs at The New School, where he co-founded LIT magazine, and at Columbia University.

Desire Loves Disaster
I should have spoken clearly, made
known the consequences of not
accepting an offer, even though I offered
nothing and there were never any
consequences. Trick question minus
question, minus trick, minus minus.
See how everyone heads for the shore
to greet the unseen vessel that’s devoured
half the horizon, but they find only
the moon’s portrait sketched on the water.
I say this as though you were not everyone,
as though the moon had only a stump
of chalk and nothing better to sketch than its
bleached and bloated self. The beach is lined
with lit-up skulls, each eye a lighthouse
beaming into flotsam, but they won’t save us.
My country runs to the edge and throws
itself in. When I said beach, I meant cliff.


No one should be caught
fondling on stoops tonight;
they can climb up
and screw on the fire
escapes. What is all this
fog in the unedited air—
I can’t bite through
to you when prudence
becomes a no-headed fish
in a three-headed town.
Sickness draws a salary,
some fake liberation
and a boarding pass
printed on cheap-ass paper.
Give me my minimum
rage, a basket half
full of stunted puns;
we pull some wealth
from lyric poverty,
an otherworldly mess—
but lucky me, pointing
at what I’m in-
capable of making.
Duress, duress, duress;
surprises tucked into terra
cotta corners of countries
I can’t give directions to.
Instead I kick an inflatable
globe your way across
the sidewalk, a missive
to embody what I should
evade. Come for a taste,
exposed baby pigeon;
cajole, cajole, kaboom.
Unity, Utility, Ubiquity
If you’re going to carry
your gorgeous head
around in a sack,
it might as well be
this white plastic one.
Wait, that’s no good,
it even says as much
on the bag. At least
I think it does—can
you read it, right
next to the message
about Jesus they snuck
on there? It washed
up on the beach, so
I thought we could
reuse it. Happy bloody
shopping and what a load
of damage these gulls
love doing to the loot
we leave unattended
as we work the water—
good for them and
their sideways eyes,
their avian religion
that says it’s kosher
to disinter and cir-
cumcise Mormons
with their beaks.
I’ll close this beach
and start a cornfield,
then I’m going to burn
down that cornfield
and build a bank.
I can swim to save
my life, swim back
to what’s left of us.

 photo credit Star Black