"We Only Perceive Our Bodies," "Sounds of High Tide in the Fog," and "Foghorn"

“We Only Perceive Our Bodies”


All the manufacturing in the world
Post-haste, demented, free
Peoples the infliction of virtue

Without the fanciful satisfaction
Of mascara, tootle-loo, dee-do
The praise evaporates the evangel

All horns presuppose godliness
Don’t they, you hideous, ambulatory—
Premium, devious—peaceloving, halt—

We see (without feeling eager)
Slime dressed as virginity
Impatience as lengthwise severance
Imitation as fraud

Without planets to breed hope
These toys demonstrate nothing
But the primary challenge to society
Eating is all selfish

Damned hills mined of necessity
Frankensteins barking till Doomsday

All the spare parts to rarify
They really ice the migraine dead
Doozey up and explode coffee earrings
Superstitions and the perfect Rorschach bandage
Breathtaking, route-faking, peace-making

Without this organized infrastructure
Beauty potential layaway
We say no to bugs, bosco, troublemaking
Go get the earrings before they explode
Hybrid doughnuts

All the Greco-Roman theater afternoons
Felt in the bones of man’s refuge
Tight, proposed, fortunate, psyched

Holistic, true, fell, prescient
Demonstrable, farfetched, equatorial, disdainful
Tedious, time-consuming, framed…

Naps beef up the devious buzz
And seasons plan the blue parades
Talk for soluble parting pines
Tops for soothing alligator side

Don’t baste the same program switch
To feel the heat of the sonnet sun
To decent omnivorous tubes

All hunger explains narrowmindedness
The earaches capture our dignity
To breathe the wholesome session
Ammunition for dogs when they alight

Without Johnny and Jimmy and Francis
Homeward bound to their board
Of fennel and negativity—

All the stakes presuppose this rest
To break the mouth of its nape



Sounds of High Tide in the Fog

I don’t know a pillbox from a ukulele in this grinding place
Take the money and run through the holiday sauce
In the event of this telescopic egg carton
Strawberry blonde cola and filibuster of the placeholder

From a silver perspective, indistinct and parallel
This foghorn’s insistence, the argument on behalf of rhyming ice ages
Underneath the Roger-and-out (po’boy)
Oh baby, the rotting telephone splinters our minds inside and out

Enough of the chipmunk’s razzmatazz and (perpendicular chancelry)
Underneath the foghorns ad infinitum

The foghorn tosses its lasso a long way, and then we begin to be ground down, and then
      this careless certainty
Our minds are ground to hamburger, and then we are taken to an invisible place
The meat grinder repeats itself every few feet—like a lozenge…running wild

You won’t believe the effect of the meat grinder on the hootin’ owl
The foghorn randomizes this thrashing of arguments in the sun of penitence
This argument, lazy but incontestable, billowing, in Bilbao
One-note, for once, ground to pieces, maintained
The foghorn blocks our positive cries for attention (our inspissation and purpureal larvae
      and hijinks talkshow)
See, thrill pieces separate statements
The foghorn fading to this thudding crowd near the grinder

The foghorn returns the call, the cutters rise, silly putty and all
Inside this belief system, this iron piss, this inside-out race
The foghorn in an impure environment (bearing the stigmata of piney dollops)
Gone, gone, going gone
This restaurant will not publicize Chamber slime
The foghorn speaks sense, to these disunited, almond joy

If anyone, pintsize or hallway
Nobody will tell you the foghorn points an index finger inside this placard
The foghorn raises its voice and hoi pollois (with our ice cream)
(If they think, for one minute, inside our realistic honeycomb)
First, I need to tell you, the rice paper, Daddy
The foghorn bleats—this has been settled, right?—the oildrum
You’re no more likely to tarnish an apple with your little grinder
Under the circumstances, reminiscing, onions for all
Pincer-like, hardly echoing, like it never went away

When you wash it out, the foghorn cleaned, freed, the surface ruffles
The surface ruffles these consenting voices, small blasts in the booth
The foghorn enters our place, the water just won’t listen to the tentative surface
Come back from these places, high-tailed, the opera glass
Reason with nightmares, pool the hosking, infiltrate the lake jungle and imacious page in
      our sorry operating room




         (two notes,
         then a pause)

The wrong load
of horses

singes my tooth
prays with disregard

Perhaps people
insinuated the told

And without a doubt
inside the cave


Rather the past
than hillbilly

illustrate eleven
origin signposts

First and foremost
almond bar

Inside the house
of the foremost

and you will play
tankard locks

before the first
tonga bump

the seasons
seminal perseverance

for pause
to tool the loot

No no no

opens this
proper polity

because the rhyme
plays in the sand

First before
role time (safeguard)

Oh no
the solvent logic

Before the plan
the honest mungo

don’t sandwich
the rescue here

The place
butters and tubs

Without terse
self designation (broadcast)

Why solve
the song cycle

because Tabasco
regulates these lawns

racing from hollow
to Oreo sunrise

pink umbrella
sandwich dollops


The monkey
illustrates the holster

Take the semblance
usher in further holograms

legislate silver
through promise


reassure without
compromising consolidated

open a household
to long

and instead of acting
instead of polishing

This oven
draws a blank

under suit

This silver

This Bilbao
oven opens



Michael Ruby

Michael Ruby is a poet, literary editor and journalist. He is the author of eight poetry books, most recently Compulsive Words (BlazeVOX, 2010), American Songbook (Ugly Duckling, 2013), The Mouth of the Bay (BlazeVOX, 2019), The Star-Spangled Banner (Station Hill, 2020) and Close Your Eyes, Visions (Station Hill, 2024). His trilogy in prose and poetry, Memories, Dreams and Inner Voices (Station Hill, 2012), includes ebooks Fleeting Memories (Ugly Duckling, 2008) and Inner Voices Heard Before Sleep (Argotist Online, 2011). His other ebooks are Close Your Eyes (Argotist, 2018) and Titles & First Lines (Mudlark, 2018). He lives in Brooklyn and worked for many years as an editor of U.S. news and political articles at The Wall Street Journal.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 10:51