This weekin live currentevents: your eyes.All power can bedangerous:Director alternating,you, socket to me.Plugged in and the gridis humming,this electricity,molecule-deep desire:particular friction, a chargestrong enough to stopa heartor start itagain; volt, re-volt--I shudder, I stutter, I startto life. I've got my ionyou, copper-top,so watch how youconduct yourself.Here's today'snewsflash: a battery of rollingblackouts in California, sudden,like lightning kisses:sudden, whitehotdarkness and you'rehere, fumbling forthat small switchwith an urgent surgestrong enough to killlesser machines.Static makes hair raise,makes things cling,makes things rise likea gathering stormcharging outsideour darkened houseand here I am:tempest, pouring outmouthfullsof tsunami on the ground,I've got that rain-soaked kite,that drenched key.You know what it's for,circuit-breaker, you knowhow to kiss until it's hertz.
GONE TO STATICit sounds better than it is,this business of surviving,making it throughthe wrong placeat the wrong timeand livingto tell.when the talk shows and movie creditswear off, it's just me and my dumbluck. this morningI had that dream again:the one where I'm dead.I wake up and nothing'smuch different. everything's gonesepia, a dirty bourbon glassby the bed, you're still dead.I could stumbleto the shower,scrub the luck of breath off my skinbut it's futile.the killer always wins.it's just a matterof time.and I havetime. I have grief and liquor tofill it. tonight, the liquor and I aretalking to you. the liquor says, 'remember'and I fill in the rest, your hands, your smile.all those times. remember.tonight the liquor and Iare telling you about our day.we made it out of bed. we miss you.we were surprised by the blood betweenour legs. we miss you. we made it to the videostore, missing you. we stoppedat the liquor storehoping the bourbon would stopthe missing. there's always morebourbon, more missingtonight, when we got home,there was a stray catat the door.she came in.she screams to be touched.she screamswhen I touch her.she's rightat home.not me.the whisky is openthe vcr is on.I'm runningthe film backwardsand one by oneyou come back to me,all of you.your pulses stutter to a beginyour eyes go from fixed to blinkthe knives come out of your chests, the chainsawsroar outfrom your legsyour wounds seal overyour t-cells multiply, your tumors shrinkthe maniac killerdisappearsit's just you and meand the bourbon and the movieflickering togetherand the air breathes us and I am home, I amluckyI am rightbefore everythinggoes black
Fifteen Ways to Stay Alive1. Offer the wolves your arm only from the elbow down. Leave tourniquet space. Do not offer them your calves. Do not offer them your side. Do not let them near your femoral artery, your jugular. Give them only your arm.2. Wear chapstick when kissing the bomb.3. Pretend you don’t know English.4. Pretend you never met her.5. Offer the bomb to the wolves. Offer the wolves to the zombies.6. Only insert a clean knife into your chest. Rusty ones will cause tetanus. Or infection.7. Don’t inhale.8. Realize that this love was not your trainwreck, was not the truck that flattened you, was not your Waterloo, did not cause massive haemorrhaging from a rusty knife. That love is still to come.9. Use a rusty knife to cut through most of the noose in a strategic place so that it breaks when your weight is on it.10. Practice desperate pleas for attention, louder calls for help. Learn them in English, French, Spanish: May Day, Aidez-Moi, Ayúdame.11. Don’t kiss trainwrecks. Don’t kiss knives. Don’t kiss.12. Pretend you made up the zombies, and only superheroes exist.13. Pretend there is no kryptonite.14. Pretend there was no love so sweet that you would have died for it, pretend that it does not belong to someone else now, pretend like your heart depends on it because it does. Pretend there is no wreck — you watched the train go by and felt the air brush your face and that was it. Another train passing. You do not need trains. You can fly. You are a superhero. And there is no kryptonite.15. Forget her name.
MY MOTHER GETS DRESSEDIt is impossible for my mother to do eventhe simplest things for herself anymoreso we do it together,get her dressed.I choose the clothes withoutzippers or buckles or straps,clothes that are simplebut elegant, and easy to get into.Otherwise, it's just like every other day.After bathing, getting dressed.The stockings go on first.This time, it's the new ones,the special ones with opaque black trianglesthat she's never worn before,bought just two weeks agoat her favorite department store.We start with the heavy, careful stuff of the right toesinto the stocking tipthen a smooth yank past the knob of her ankleand over her cool, smooth calfthen the other toecool ankle, smooth calfup the legsand the pantyhose is coaxed to her waist.You're doing great, Mom,I tell heras we ease her bodyagainst mine, rest her whole weight against meto slide her black dresswith the black empire collarover her headstruggle her fingers through the dark tunnel of the sleeve.I reach from the outsidedeep into the dark for her hand,grasp where I can't see for her touch.You've got to help me a little here, MomI tell herthen her fingertips touch mineand we work her fingers through the sleeve's mouthtogether, then we rest, her weight against mebefore threading the other fingers, wrist, forearm, elbow, bicepand now over the head.I gentle the black dress over her breasts,thighs, bring her makeup to her,put some color on her skin.Green for her eyes.Coral for her lips.I get her black hat.She's ready for her company.I tell the two women in simple, elegant suitswaiting outside the bedroom, come in.They tell me, She's beautiful.Yes, she is, I tell them.I leave as they carefullyzip her intothe black body bag.Three days later,I dream a large, greensuitcase arrives.When I unzip it,my mother is inside.Her dress matchesher eyeshadow, which matchesthe suitcaseperfectly. She's wearingcoral lipstick."I'm here," she says, smiling delightedly, wavingand I wake up.Four days later, she comes homein a plastic black boxthat is heavier than it looks.In the middle of a meadow,I learn a nakedmore than naked.I learn a new way to hugas I tighten my fistaround her body,my hand filled with her ashesand the small stones of bones.I squeeze her tightthen open my handand release herinto the smallest, hottest sun,a dandelion screaming yellow at the sky.