Andrew J. Finkle

 
                                                  AJ

                                                AJ

 

ATROPHY

  

plexor
pressures
 
knocking
on my knee.
 
zeitgeist
measures my
reflex
 
but time
is
relative
 
so I wait
for my moment
 
to kick.

 

HAIR OF THE DOG

The black and white horizon flips and spins,
my right cheek snow and left cheek moonless sky.
Semi-conscious I can feel his shadow.
(Line and pour me half a dozen shots...)
Warmth pours from his skin into my stomach,
but my fingers and my toes are still black.
A piteous kiss would reverse the bite.
(...one for every month he hasn't touched me)
Instead it's revulsion that snuffs the heat.
He leaves me naked, rotting in the cold.
(He lacks the balls to fuck away my ennui...)
Some stars appear in the black of the left,
a white, puffy clustered constellation.
(...but has the balls to ask why I seem restive)
Now they form teeth and legs, tails and white fur.
The bigger brighter canine blankets me
while the smaller one licks at my burnt ends.
(Please forgive me, drinking turns me tasteless)
I am revived but the two curs linger...
 
(Thank you for your kindness and attention,
now would you be so kind as to point me
in the direction of Orion’s belt?)
 

OFFAL

I
 
The spectre is warped,
an inverted white shadow smeared
flat against the wall
of my unlit bedroom
 
(a distorted mural,
magnified through the glass and liquor
lens of the bottle on my nightstand).
 
Concavity spars with convexity,
ultimately yielding
as the form emerges from the wall
to try the third dimension on
like a wedding dress it can't afford.
 
It's a bedsheet ghost,
floating with two opaque cutout eyes.
The compulsion to stick a body part in them
makes me ache.
 
I tongue the two slits;
the ectoplasm coats my buds,
smacking them with an aftertaste
of spoiled milk.
 
The wraith fades,
shrugging off space and time,
but the flavor lingers
and intensifies.
 
Retching,
not yet
having had my fill of spirits,
I grab the bottle and chug,
infusing vodka and bile
in an enzyme cocktail,
crafted to be expelled
not ingested.
 
The toilet swallows the vomit,
but you still pollute my palate.
 
II
 
No one should see this...
the submission in the kitchen.
 
I unscrew the only bulb
so not even the nosiest ray
can escape to steal a glance
and refract through the window
to gossip with the stars.
 
No. What happens here...
(the driving out of the loiterer in my mouth)
is to be absorbed,
smothered,
forgotten
in the dark womb of ante-meridiem.
 
A brief glimmer is permitted
(to snatch the head out of the refrigerator)
then snuffed.
 
Now it is fingernails
peeling skin,
old skin,
tissue paper
flaking off like a scab.
 
Little bits
tumble out onto the counter.
My fingers roam and probe
until they have the hilt.
 
It feels profane
to turn a knife sideways,
like flipping a cross upside down.
Yet the blasphemous blade hovers
then descends
smashing one of the morsels
and splitting its thin shell. 
 
Popped like a blister
the fresh skin underneath
is slick and sticky. 
 
I slip it into my mouth and chew. 
Acrid, bitter waves roll over the rot. 
Swallowing,
the sharpness spreads,
and I think I've won. 
 
My euphoria blinds me
to the laws of Nature
and the inevitable ebb
of every tide. 
 
The foul rot,
eroded but still standing,
pushes back;
the taste of the garlic
recedes and washes away. 
 
A fiery paroxysm of ire
bursts loose,
singes sense and reason. 
The conflagration forces
my burning fingers
around the cool blade of the knife. 
 
Both hands slam
the heel to the counter
(over and over)
crushing the cloves between. 
 
The harsh, raw garlic
is iron infused,
bloody crescents
pulverized and masticated. 
 
Instead of overpowering
the rancid aftertaste,
the three elements synthesize
and metastasize
 
leaving me terminal. 
 
III
 
My life was saved by a sprig of mint. 
 
In the desperation of dawn,
I munched on some leaves. 
 
The pain abated. 
 
Calmly,
lying in a hot bath
with what was left
of the sprig,
 
I rubbed the cancer into remission. 
 

 

COMPLICATIONS


Which one of you is the guardian?
The child raises her arm in her sleep.
 
Ah!
 
You!
 
You've been demoted...holy decree.
I squeeze the cherub's plush bottom,
pluck off his wings
and toss him to Hades.
 
-----
 
I imagined clay;
or wet cement;
even a grapefruit.
 
It was harder,
but only at first.
Like pushing through thin ice,
except the water below is warm and thick.
 
Her eyes never opened,
but there was a coo.
And shit in her diaper.
 
The tip of my Sharpie disappeared
as I scrawled the despicable noun into her belly.
Too gently.
I barely stifled a snicker
at the thought of tickling her.
 
-----
 
...past 4am now
The message is next to mommy
on the bed.
 
For three and a half months
I have been glued to my mirrors,
trying to hoodwink one of them
into casting an honest reflection.
 
Liars.
 
When she wakes up,
I'll see my facsimile;
and
(if she remains conscious for long enough)
she will see a grotesque silhouetted doppelgänger
sitting on the windowsill,
wearing her white coat
and a pair
of bloody latex gloves.

 

ODE TO DISSOCIATION

A plasma anchorman watches me,
recumbent,
fingering myself
and trying to think
non-linearly.
 
Somewhere there is an affable mass of carbon
orating about politics, unaware of the woman on her bed
sliding in and out of poesy and sophistry, writhing
under the onerous weight of detachment.
    
     We are two distinct entities:
      a double negative;
      a divided dash.
    
The furtive blank paper between the blots
of ink is what I can't understand, or dismiss,
because somewhere in the nullity
is the fountainhead of my isolation.
So I fiddle around in there,
slipping into the slit
with no protection,
feeling around for context.
 
      Why is it always flesh with you?
      Perniciously lewd;
      facetiously crude.
 
I was being dishonest when I told you I felt ill.
 
I did.
     
But I was speaking in terms of a permanent state of being
or an inherent character flaw,
not a temporary affliction.
So then I made up that bit
about my Circadian rhythm
being out of whack. 
 
     Your lack and my lack
     combined
     was off-putting,
 
     so I lied
     and left
     to lie
     here,
 
     manic and morose
     like a lycanthropic ghost:
     a ghost with nothing to do,
     who never could be bothered
     with having any business
     to finish.
 
The moon is enshrouded by a cloud,
the sky
and
the stars
and
everything else around it
a cheap cardboard backdrop. 
      
I'm safe in the anonymity of my tub,
bathing
in the blood
of those
who
 
Live.
                       Laugh.
                                                   Love.
 
                                                                     How does
something
                                                   that has always been
something
                                                                        dissolve
into garbled jamais vu?
                                                         And what if that
something
                                                            were someone? 
Or everyone? 
                                                                 Everything?
     
A teacher felt she could confide in me once
as a precocious youth. She asked me if I had ever repeated
a word so many times that it lost all of its meaning.
 
I nodded,
and with a profound sadness
too disinterested to be marred by tears,
she told me that
every day
every person
she
 
was the same word.
 
 

Bio:

           Andrew is an aspiring poet; some of the major themes explored in his work are alienation, mental illness, the unknown, time, the physical vs. the metaphysical, and existential dread.  He graduated from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 2007 with a B.A. in Literature and minors in Philosophy and Religion.