pulmonary

air is drawn into us by a fluttering membrane
an autonomic bellows
or tympanum of muscle
it bisects us laterally
keeps the sub-basement below the belt where it belongs.
so? so the careful admixture
(nitrogen. and oxygen!)
flows into diaphanous skeins that depend,
like two weary undershirts,
from a forked hanger.


what we breathe is borne downstream
into the body’s countryside
by river and burbling brook
sometimes by a silver
thread glinting through reeds
this year’s Intelligent Design
is a nesting doll of grief and wisdom
you will inhale a gnat
taking that life inside your own
the horror of this intake
is likely not experienced by the gnat as poetry
nor is there any evident design ingenuity in the episode


when that mechanic on the aircraft carrier deck
sanguine in his jumpsuit
got sucked into the fighter jet nacelle
was glory given to McDonnell Douglas
with upturned palms and murmuring lips
not that we know of
but when men are sucked into engines
the talk does turn to vessels
this is the murmuring lip talk
"we are but vessels..."
the gnat is herself a vessel
brimming with the busy ur-citizens of this comic romp
the cells are likewise jammed
with mitochondrial filigree and magic jelly
but here we’ll stop the regress
before it gets disgusting

 

the grinning overweight boob
with the unshaven chins and kind eyes and ear buds?
who always boards babbling and laughing?
today he's accompanied by a beautiful, unblemished young girl
he sleeps heavily against her

his bear arms movingly clamped across her torso
his paw clutching her right shoulder
hard to describe
he's leaning sidewise and half-twisting
the angle awkward, supplicant and shameless
a drowning man's embrace
but you've heard that one before
her eyes are glassed with moisture
the whites darkened, Bergman on the tarmac
she stares straight ahead like Bergman
occasionally kisses his forehead
she seems about to weep
she’s beautiful and inexplicable


he awakens blinking like an enormous grizzled kid
she speaks to him in an impeded high register
hollers around an unanchored tongue
stammes indecipherably
her brain fibre compromised
she is just so beautiful
this is not a reasonable realm
but a room-temperature cauldron
or an entrapping wind tunnel
whose swirling spicks and specks
we grossly misapprehend
with each buffeted breath and gesture