Hurry it’s on! You have to piss, you have to eat. You’re in the bathroom, you’re in the kitchen. Haven’t you any sense of time? The beginning is most important. You’re missing a segment—it’s new, it’s exciting. Why don’t we move the television into the bedroom then? You’re never where I need you to be. I had an emergency, you’re outside praying. Why don’t you pray, pray, pray your life away? Look at the anchor. Isn’t her dress pretty. But she’s old, without her make-up, her face is covered with wrinkles. I can’t even look at her. Who is the newsman, with the long last name? Tiny man, foreigner, his name has so many syllables. Ha, how the female towers over him. There’s nothing more unpleasant to my eye than a little man. You’re writing. Why are you writing? Can’t you do it another time? Where’s that book you spoke of? Where is it? Look, here’s a grocery list I put together, I’m a writer! Full of shit, that’s what you are. Oh, it’s the new weather girl. Isn’t she pretty? But I can’t stand the way women dress these days. Sticks exposed, bend over and you can see her underwear! The way she’s standing in her heels, they’re all learning to stand that way. There should be a law to prohibit cleavage. Women should be required to cover their arms. If I were on television—ooh, it’s the lesbian. She has a wife. Her wife is pregnant—whose belly holds the baby? Doesn’t she look like a man? Unreasonably tall, shoulders so broad, hands so big, a woman who looks like that. Stop writing, you’re always writing, it’s national news! What—it’s got nothing to do with interest, it has to be watched. Would you vote for him? No, you’re right, he’s so old. Maybe ten years ago. What about her? She’s so old, look how thick her waist and hips and thighs are. But she dresses appropriately. If I were on television, I’d wear a—hey, the weather girl had straight hair yesterday but she has curly hair today! Well—it’s wrong. She may be pregnant, her breasts are grotesquely large. Do you think she’s white? She’s not too dark. What about him—I wish he’d suck in his belly. His shoulders are hunched from age. You’re not watching!
Travel has left frost in my clothes. I carry the pale and the cold in my skin, in my small hands. The singular iris is strange. But I am teachable, I can relearn the human circuits. Kinswoman, are you she? To recognize is difficult. Get out of my way, you monster? Ah, you are she. I remember you. Front row in class, I receive the full blast. Go hide in the corner, you monster. And so on. Sidi-Nouman’s wife eats rice grain by grain but spits out corpse flesh. Father, I have no taste for graveyards. Leave the dead to bury themselves, and turn to light and heat. Agni, I bring you flesh of my experience, the tender morsels, meager offering, I know. Let the congregation speak in tongues, let them prophesy. Consume me and free me. And remember: in the freezing abyss, the universe was born.
I do not eat yogurt. I do not eat jam. I do not drink juice. Why did you shop? This has sugar. This has salt. This has fat. Do you want to know what I ate today? I only had—when you shop, I starve! Can’t you check the expiration? You want to cook? My body shudders in horror! You want to cook. My stomach is on fire. When I hear you—why are you smiling like that? You’re not a man. Men go out and perform! Why don’t you stare into space, you bastard! Stare at the moon! If you had to cook everyday, you wouldn’t enjoy it. Don’t make so much, we’ll be eating it for days. Don’t make so much, you’ll fill the fridge. You’re doing it wrong. Don’t cut it so small. It won’t cook through. I don’t want to taste the garlic. What chef? What recipe? That fat chef, face bloated from eating? Starve me and I wouldn’t eat that! Kill me and I wouldn’t eat that. It is brown. It is yellow. It is papaya orange. Hurry up, I’m starving! Who cooks for hours and hours? Three hours. I timed you. No, I’ll eat now—I said I was starving. So many flavors, fighting each other, it is disgusting. I told you not to cook the beans that way. I have a stomachache. I feed you and I cook for you and I slave over you. No one else would treat you the way I do. Look at you, scrawny, you turn everything I give you into shit. We may as well eat shit. Skin and bones, go sit on the toilet! Kill me! Kill me!
She says, “I’ll kill you. The first person I’d kill is you. I want to put a bullet in your head.” She says, “You are insane. You terrify me. Psychopath! I am going to burn the house.” You say, “I want a family. I want to settle down.” What—oh, I am doused with kerosene. Boy—the window panes jitter from screaming, and father is climbing a tree. Someone is laughing to the point of tears, but it is not me.
I like to float in the sea upon my back, carried. The stars wheel, ancient patterns, but I am prehistoric. Upon the beach, an altar fire roars, but where are the worshipers? I am thankful. To kiss is the proper greeting among kin. But driftwood is in short supply, I am inadequate, what shall I contribute? Bone and shining fat, like Greek sacrifice, cracking, crackling. The pain is brief, be fearless, and leap through the flame!
Do I live? A stream of memory and fabrication confuses me. I never have loved yet time does not wash your face away. Even were you here, our existences would scarcely cross. The mother says, “I suffer. The years are an anguish. No one helps me.” I still live. The father nourishes, infrequent joy, poor offerings. I still live. Love binds all stories, like gravity binds the planets. Stories shine upon your face, narrow flashlight, and my particles hold together.