Riparian

This entry is part 39 of 39 in the series Une Semaine de Bonté

 

Page 42 of Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté

I sleep with the river
in my ears for years

I float I drift
empires rise and fall

clamor turns to murmur
in the temple of my pulse

I wake to a mudlark
crowing over his find

Bitter End

This entry is part 38 of 39 in the series Une Semaine de Bonté

 

Page 41 of Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté

Less than half
human the large
language model
struts down
the runway
immune to aging
as trains derail
cargo ships crash
into bridges and
planes fall out of
the sky (where
else?) while
people who work
with their hands
begin to seem
as passé as
the body itself
a species of non-
luminescent firefly
with its dead ember
of an abdomen
the sturdy stone
in an avocado
having evolved with
giant ground sloths
will still sprout
and bear fruit
belly tattoo expanding
under washboard ribs
the darkness at the heart
of the galaxy wears
a blazing ring.

Prayer Warriors

This entry is part 37 of 39 in the series Une Semaine de Bonté

 

Page 37 of Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté

Sunday again: jellybeans
in a bowl. The golden calf
has sent a representative.
We are safe from the lions
of high noon, who lie
and digest like pundits.
The children must be taught
to pray for victory and not
worry about all the losers.
They must love their country
without thinking, mind
like a weed-free lawn,
pristine as astroturf. Purity
is the object here. If it’s power
you want, get an injection.

Officialdom

This entry is part 36 of 39 in the series Une Semaine de Bonté

 

Page 36 of Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté

you were the lions of empire
captured in local granite

you cling to your perches
as tightly as the shells

that gave birth to cicadas
those one-hit wonders

cultured in the dark
like wheels of cheese

you travel sitting down
or sleeping in compartments

raised on air quotes you lift
an eyebrow to the breeze

if a cocktail or paving stone
can become ordnance

the sky’s the limit to what
feathered lead might fall

a rampant weather fit
to exterminate vermin

Specialist

This entry is part 35 of 39 in the series Une Semaine de Bonté

 

Page 35 of Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté

a caterpillar fallen from
its tree hurries past

the ground is a leaf
without end or underside

where to shelter from birds
and menacing clouds

you can hide on a plinth
if you’re still enough

convert all your unspent
currency to skulls

the ground is a mask
with too many eyeholes

how to disguise yourself
as a shadow or a hedge fund

if you’re made out of water
you can take any shape

says the fortune cookie
crushed by an impatient fist

Executive

This entry is part 34 of 39 in the series Une Semaine de Bonté

 

Page 34 of Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté

behold the beast
its gape its gap
its utter lack of spark

this rabbit
what had it been doing
under my hat

step right up folks
the body politic won’t miss
its absentee head

for my next trick
I’ll deliver a baby
and whisper a number in its ear

Public Servant

This entry is part 33 of 39 in the series Une Semaine de Bonté

 

Page 33 of Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté

As if all the night’s eyes had flown open at once and were trained on me—and who can say they aren’t? Given that I am suddenly unable to move, some paranoia may be justified. But those dull throbs must be my beloved’s heartbeat. That’s the cat purring at our feet. It’s all just a nightmare, not some untimely end for the head of a regime. I expect to wake up at any moment.

Biofeedback

This entry is part 32 of 39 in the series Une Semaine de Bonté

 

Page 32 of Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté

Perhaps I have meditation
all wrong, and it isn’t about
finding the off switch. The way

trees swaying in the wind
stay so firmly seated makes me
think I too need to delegate

all decision-making to mushrooms.
Collecting sunlight could be
my whole vocation; never mind

the masked vigilantes running riot
in my imagination. Not every trip
unfolds according to plan. But

I have acquired an apparatus
dearer to me than any pet
with which to concentrate the mind.

So sleek a device—plastic married
to metal. If only I could remember
how to turn it on.

Submission

This entry is part 31 of 39 in the series Une Semaine de Bonté

 

Page 31 of Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté

oh this rabbit heart
these mosquito lusts

how to keep
them in line how
to make them fit

from jackrabbit
to jackhammer
from blood to clutch

i have defaced
the mirror on my wall

spoiling its pure
emptiness with
my presence

i shall work harder
at vanishing
into rage

Blow

This entry is part 30 of 39 in the series Une Semaine de Bonté

 

Page 30 of Max Ernst’s Une Semaine de Bonté

A storm wind but no storm, just the leaves showing their backsides to each passing breeze. The muggy heat makes me feel I’m losing my grip, slippery with sweat, anxieties germinating in my gut. Deep sleep eludes me. Again the dream of being toyed with by my cat. Again the dream of becoming a prey animal, a human resource.