Two Prose Poems by Adam Jordan

soft cartel may 2018

I feel blurry, but bounded. Like the hair on my arms flowered. There’s no good word for a body, the feeling of being one but meat. An oak tree of meat and words, thoughts blowing in the wind above the data center. Flesh sliding off the bones of a network cable. Peel back its rubber to show a rainbow-colored nervous system. Teeth I pull from the network switch, blinking amber.

I’m at a café in Europe, my first time in Europe. Why do I always revise too much, I think, lying on the grass in Europe. I’m embarrassed by my French, but I try, people switch over to English. I drink Bavaria 8.6 Absinthe cans on the grass in a park in France, I’m on a picnic blanket. I lie on my side in the grass, embarrassed to be writing poetry in Paris. Embarrassed that I write at all.

My body hears me and wraps around my shoulders like a blanket, breathing out through the wind. And my body is the grass that shakes, as I walk barefoot up to Sacré-Cœur. And I can’t believe, like some people do, that aliens had to help us build the pyramids, we couldn’t do it ourselves.

Somewhere in the world is a motorcycle accident, and the meat of me drums with blood. My eyes close, and I know from just a soft sound above me that the leaves are shaking. I think suddenly, and I guess it’s true, the other half of Earth is as dark as the universe, since the moon is here above Sacré-Cœur.

Far beyond a sense of self, my breaths hear each other and harmonize, I don’t have to listen. Kind of nice of your body to do things without you, without you thinking, What should I be doing right now? Out of all possible options, what’s the best thing I could be doing? If you’re like me, you read about war when you should be working. If you’re like me, you’ve got a dozen extra belly-buttons no one sees. You’ve got a hundred invisible additional ears, each one with a tongue with a diamond piercing.

If you’re like me, you were born in Ohio, and a hundred wants have bubbled out of you, down to the oceans. I don’t know. I’m so far from myself, I’m like a moon of myself. I’m like paint I push across a surface not thinking, just watching its color change, its texture collect. I feel my arms in my sleeves like the cotton’s an ocean, not a sweater I rescued from the laundry this morning.

If you’re like me, you sleep drooling ideas all over your pillow. You wake wet with spit, pinned down by a tooth in the mouth of a bear, a bear big as an office building. You wake up drawing a spectral sword from the screen of your cellphone, cut a path through blood and gore to get a shower, get ready for work.

Tomorrow, call in sick with me instead. We’ll fake sick, drive home to Ohio, and get your favorite pizza if the place is still in business. We’ll drive back at night with greasy lips, cross the country with an extra box of pizza, a little more ourselves. Under slow-moving stars and streetlights, we’ll be a little more grounded.

Adam Jordan grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, briefly studied poetry, and lives in a nice trailer in Texas. He tweets @bonecamaro and has a little podcast with his partner @coldpizzaparty.