ghosts and aliens
as far as beliefs go
seem on opposite ends of the spectrum
ghosts being the result
of a religious belief in the afterlife
aliens being the result
of a scientific belief in interstellar life
i can picture L Ron Hubbard
thinking something like this
before he invented scientology
i can picture him seeing a ‘niche’
thinking about how
people who believe in aliens
do so under the assumption
that we were not created by god
that we exist as insignificant
that our beliefs and ourselves
are not alone or important
and how those who believe in ghosts
do so under the assumption that
we are here
and here is everything
and ghosts are lingering here
and have not crossed over
to a different spiritual plane
assuming here is earth
and over is heaven
or wherever religious people think about
when they think about ascending
and seeing that these two things
these supernatural beliefs
were so far removed from each other
and noticing the dearth of people
able to maintain the dissonance of both
our insignificance in the universe
our centrality in the universe
but who still deeply want to believe
L Ron thought of a way to combine the two
to harness both the supernatural powers
of aliens and ghosts
“the ghosts of aliens” he thought
“why hasn’t anyone done this before”
and L Ron planted that flag
at the top of the volcano
full of the restless spirits
of ghostly aliens of yore
and he did so
only to pull the flag out
and inside of the divot made by the flagpole
place a seed
that would grow
surprisingly beyond his death
unfurling spindly arms
billowing with leaves of fluffy pink fibreglass
eat the fibreglass.
you want to.
it looks so much like cotton candy.

Natasha Wimmer on translating Bolaño

cold kind of sex

maybe having sex is a type of art;
i mean i agree that “making love”,
aka the kind of sex during which my body ends at the tips of your fingers,
is art,
love could be a kind of art.

but maybe the type of sex where you don’t give a shit about the other person is also art
maybe the type of sex where the other person is just a pink body is also art
maybe the type of sex where the other person is just bones flesh and skin is also art
maybe indifference and just cold naked bodies touching is also art
but it is a different kind of art

it is the kind that makes us realize we are pointless and small.
it is the opposite of what love is.

When Thinking of My Body I Am Pulled Into Pieces

I wish the municipal authorities thought of my hands
as more than just replaceable means of production.

I wish my neighbor’s cats thought of my hands
as more than just jealous petting machines.

I wish my long-term girlfriend thought of my hands
not as extensions of me but as a painting’s first draft.

I wish the backyard’s potting soil thought of my hands
as escape routes to the bluer world existing overhead.

I wish everybody on the internet thought of my hands
as they really are: tangible proof of my irl humanity.

I wish approaching storm fronts thought of my hands
as lightning rods towards which to direct their lips.

I wish the whole trembling universe thought of my hands
as acts of war, as objects of destruction, as lovers.

wind poems

i am saying i
and walking up some hillside
where my body becomes wind
and i love wind and i am so happy and sad.
i would live another year if for no other reason
than to feel it again.
i believe in ritual.
i listen to myself in the car with the window
halfway down. i imagine i’d fly out
and tumble down the road like a scrap of trash.
i’d be the cutest piece of trash in this city.
instead i wash my hands and train my voice
to sound like soft gusts against cold glass.
i push a lawnmower over my chin.
i paint my face with white and red and white
and more white.
i draw black lines to highlight separation.
i pull my body inside out and fall in love
with the feeling of not dying.
all of this labor is like some kind of prayer
to prove i deserve to exist in these spaces
to prove i deserve to exist in space
to prove i deserve to exist.

it is quiet in the morning.
i am female-bodied.

last night’s air is still
inside the trees.
a loud clap of thunder
from earlier this month
is stuck in the window.

i dress myself with
a large paper bag
and go outside in the wind.

nothing happens.
i shudder
and break into pieces
but nothing happens.

you come out and find me
alone in the grass
covered in a purple rash.

you call me lacking
and kiss me with the words
that erase me from existence.

everything i’ve done
comes from a place of dying.

An Oral History of Elizabeth Bishop