Andrew J. Finkle

 
         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 mein 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 wallto 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 yethaving 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 raycan escape to steal a glanceand 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,forgottenin 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 bitstumble out onto the counter.My fingers roam and probeuntil they have the hilt. It feels profaneto turn a knife sideways,like flipping a cross upside down.Yet the blasphemous blade hovers then descends smashing one of the morselsand 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 garlicrecedes 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 bathwith 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 theminto 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.