"cooking off the fat," "going," and "forms that perforate routine"

cooking off the fat

i ache
         by the side of the road
         misinterpreting pretty faces.
the stars are aligned
                              with what?
                              and how
                              would i measure
                              many miles of
                              even if i could
                              smell them
                              circling a carcass?
my muscles are
                       scooped from skin
                       scraped from bone,
                       this tasty pudding
                       a mix of many proteins and grasses
                       seen through binoculars more
                       sectioned than a fly’s eye.
there are simple solutions for a parched mouth:
a poisoned napkin come quick from the sea;
a six-shooter with fiery chambers full
to bursting in far and away the most
lethal hurricane season this century;
                                                     and it’s
                                                     not over
                                                     yet says
                                                     el nino.
but i still don’t know
how to block the pain pathway
when testes sag in thinning scrotum and
ovaries lose altitude in midflight.
i still don’t know the fear to understand
parables that explain how dreadful is a body
of bone meal the heart well-defined and
edible but, before the first chew, pushing
chairs across a motionless moon for many
to sit tied, starched, coiffured, and painfully
i hurt-
         considering these unallied pieces of body
         sewn loosely with dissolvable stitch to
         unbaste in heat and served up on rotisserie
         mumbling water water water and a
         cough of last air
         albeit rotating smoothly
         and well-greased in the pit.




he watches television almost as quiet as his breathing and perhaps just as
shallow. he knows this. which is why he watches so infrequently. and why he
thinks it such a treat when he does. a small fly has been bothering him all
night. not just with that ear-close buzz but the panic of its flying. 
patternless. the point of it all eludes him. following the fly has made him dizzy.
his eyes are loosened from their optic nerves. he has lost his moorings.
he wonders if he could pick the beast out of the air and tell it simple things
of weather and diet and midday sleep while holding its veined wings
gently between bloodful pale fingers and occasionally cooing to it knowing
it can only smile back with witless breakable eyes and squirm with
swimming legs. he eats sherbet instead. an orange raspberry pineapple
mix. too cold to taste let alone savor. his taste buds screaming fraud
demand a life of their own. but the tongue is silent. tongue curled in its
speechless possession. the television show has ended after brief commercials
more colorful than the story line, which to say, more crayoned than
the blank page. he wonders what he just watched. the flick of the off
button dulling into his gray-green reflection. he sees himself on television
without benefit of studio. his moves are up to him. a few more spoonfuls
warmed and tasting better. the fly orbits his head like an electron. eyes
rolling back in his head. very wishful. something serene about the way it
happened. the night escaping his presence. a heart in arrest.



forms that perforate routine


                                          of species
left to contemplate
unbroken air.
sounds of the same idea
individuality and shapelessness,
crust and marmalade,
                                soft tongue
knowledge being sun,
thirst is manifested
                               in water drunk
dawn        noon        twilight.
tell me how to do it;
                               paint humanity blind
to better know the pleasure of one.
i think
          of hell
is needed for distraction.
angular geometry
unpure as forgiveness
that would pardon a small life,
                                             the point,
                                             on acuteness,
                                             pierces ourselves
with different pressures. the
               in fluid dust,
                                  light in a spontaneous outburst.
language is
an invention
for unlinked lives.



Livio Farallo is co-editor of Slipstream and Professor of Biology at Niagara County Community College. His work has appeared or, is forthcoming, in North Dakota Quarterly, J Journal, Rise Up, Triggerfish, Cordite Review, Brief Wilderness, and elsewhere. Livio recommends the Native American Rights Fund.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, June 23, 2022 - 22:08