This is how it goes.
Colleagues clog my arteries.
Friends throttle my throat.
Family pops me inside out.
Like fresh squid on a grill.
Lovers skewer, leave, return
to baste and lambast,
to flip to the other cheek.
As I hiss and spit, some hand
that once held mine
should spurn and mean to fry,
then lay me on a bed of ice to chill.
As I look up from the ice bath,
from the den I made myself,
maybe I’m four flailing grasshopper legs;
maybe I’m the cruel boy plucking to make them three.
Like tomorrow is only his.
I can’t deny the sun that dries me on the line,
that I’m also the fisherman hanging out the tentacled lives.
That the pity I’ve self-marinated in for days
is my own recipe. That I wrote the book
That I’m the connoisseur of navel-gazing,
sucking the marrow out of self-contempt.
There are only so many lines you can write about victimhood
until you are drained, until you dust off.
So I nibble a microbite of warm content
out of this old pattern, this old maze I’ve run,
out of hunger
not of thoughts
the way forgiveness blossoms
on a random jog
the way some cartoon creature unclips himself
from the clothesline or cross, where he hung unsung
after being steamrolled
the way that technically he was fine
the way the red flower
determines a bee
of the desert
friend or no friend
this is where I begin and begin again