Saturday, May 10, 2014

Shark Teeth in Bubble Wrap



Staring out through the narrow eyes of a mask I can’t remove, the outside covered in dust, the inside coated in a thin dusting of chalk and cheddar. Skin burning with bubbles from a rancid champagne dousing. Out there in the dusty park are beasts with dildos instead of antlers, lizards with vibrator tails lounging beneath cacti that ooze semen from their spines. A buried fang sprouts a bush of dry rattles. Dice tossed down prairie dog holes, darts stuck in the bark of a stunted larch, robins’ nests weighed down with billiard balls. My mouth is a tacklebox, a long barbed lure whips out every time I part my lips to speak. I plunk down grimy bills for tickets to the bacterial raffle, stamp my cards in round after round of extinction bingo. The old woman beside me unbuttons her blouse and out pokes one shy but curious nipple which grows and stretches toward the light switch, playfully flicks it off. We curl up together beneath a an old Navaho blanket woven with pictures of Campbell’s soup cans. Blue shadows stretch across the copper landscape, frosted pink mesas, crumbling terra cotta palaces. I reach for a brick but wake up clutching an empty tissue box. I look over and she’s lying there with frozen yogurt dripping down her chin, between her breasts and down her belly to pool in her belly button. I wait for it to overflow but it doesn’t, just keeps sinking deeper and deeper into the well of her navel. I roll over to crush her and she tries to push me off but our tattoos become entangled, binding us together like the locked braces of lovestruck teenagers. That afternoon head down to the post office where a clerk is busy packing shark teeth in bubble wrap and jellyfish in padded envelopes. He puts down a long cardboard tube filled with krill and hands me my mail, a single postcard depicting Frida Kahlo pleasuring herself with an armadillo. Out back I step over the postmaster, buried up to his bicuspids in the sand. Soccer moms cradle Gila monsters in their arms while their husbands traipse across the petrified forest with metal detectors. Rest stop graffiti “I fucked your mom” “You’re drunk go home Dad”. Half conscious valedictorians, sophomores slathered in “Despair” by Calvin Klein, infants with joysticks surgically attached to their palms. Every oozing pore a one-way portal from another dimension, according to my eleventh grade physics teacher, the one who we’d catch licking chalk dust from his fingertips. Bedroom smells like a cannery, air thin and cold as David Bowie, poster of an old woman in a wheelchair looking up at a mannequin. Edvard Munch paints Screaming Girl with a Pearl Earring as Julie Delpy’s corpse is violated by a female cab driver. The crack in your porcelain forehead is dripping glue that will not dry. You tap into a vein of mislaid passion, the underground river of venom clogged with chunks of carrion just like you will be someday, nothing but bones and slime and eventually just scattered atoms with which to paint the inside of someone else’s mask.  

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