Tonight I sent a signal out
and here’s the answer my
flashing light received:
Some of us are falling behind
Some of us have stubbed toes
Some of us have damaged eardrums
but continue to take important calls
Some of us have stubbed hearts
Some of us are insomniacs
Some of us were denied care for
the very wound that makes us angry
Some of us were called to arms
and no one ever told us why
Some of us are afraid to ask
We have no ID
We can’t read
Some of us refuse to be taught
Some of us elect to be mute
We are never believed
Diagnosed with psychosis
Some of us were held for a long time
for a bad deed
No access to light
Sometimes we feel great remorse
Sometimes our instruments are too dull
Some of us glory in our beautiful penises
Some of us have no feel for glory
We all came down with aphasia
Some also with amnesia
Oh what we’ve seen
Some just reach in and pull out the organ
Most wouldn’t know how to treat it
Some of us are rigid and rarely change
Others like liquid
take the shape of our container
Some of us hide behind our parents
Some of us are afraid of our parents
We live in rational fear
We are open targets
JUNE 8 / AUGUST 19
I have all the early symptoms of disease.
I’m alive, both days and nights. I take in
more than I use. Waste is a problem.
No one talks about science in my language,
the compost pile of words is not working.
I came to a natural spring that ran counter-natural.
I met a mother at the font. She said, When faced
with a challenge, don’t cry in your rice. Build a
pen so large it can contain everything and get
in there with everything.
The mosses ignored us, the fungi were cool. I
saw a lot of my future in those textures
so I barked like a kid tangled up in my leash.
This mother I met picked me up by the eyes;
carried me back to the middle.
This morning the news cycle caught up with
its tail and your oldest curse found fruition.
You died without knowing the outcome. As
usual. You died in overtime, survived by
a society that hates itself and misses its mom,
her clean house, so we slather feces on our
walls. I don’t know of a people more willing to
spite itself. I don’t know many people who’ve
died yet, most everybody has a shot. You died
in a Manhattan natural disaster unlikely to
affect the rest of us, just you will keep dying
despite the media moving on. Yes I will tell them
to keep looking and listening at every locked
door in the city. I won’t hear of the war
being over until the war never happened.
I won’t read another majority opinion.
I rely solely on the double-blind study
attached to this poem, which supports my
reciprocated attraction to your grave.
Anyone who has read me knows I scoff
at the paranormal and magic, and yet I have
evidence my parents might live unusually
extended lives, like double the average, not
for any funny reason but the immense need I have.
Lesley Yalen's work has previously been published in jubilat, Octopus, Denver Quarterly, PEN America's poetry series, Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. Her first full-length book, "The Hearts of Vikings," is forthcoming in 2014 from Natural History Press.