The Fifth Chamber of the Heart (my final written submission for Matt Rotando's Surrealist Writing Workshop at the University of Arizona's Poetry Center)
I begged him, “please, please tell me again what it’s like.”
“I can only describe it as a purring,” he said of the snow slurry falling inside his ribcage. He swallowed again, warm and sweet slipping down his throat. And then, “maybe it’s more a feathered butterfly, I can’t quite say.” It apparently had begun, this snowstorm, two and a half weeks before, in the middle of a blue note night when he dropped his glass trumpet, which bounced back up to him instead of shattering.
Magenta smoke swirled over his head as he licked the last drops out of the shot glass and stumbled outside, disappeared. I thought he would come back in and purr some more for me, but after unblinking hours (four of them if my memory is reliable*) of watching the empty door, it too disappeared so I shrugged on my jacket, climbed the back staircase and watched bats dive through the floor.
* Memories, if stored in muscular tissue as opposed to the vast minefield of the brain, are quitely reliable. Take, for instance, the memory of squeezing the heart for the first time with your hands. You remember, don’t you, the tense zing of that first electrical impulse tensing then dissolving as impulse became past tense and squirreled itself away in the fifth chamber of the heart?
I offer this second bit of a tid. My writing class finished tonight (I know! so fast! I already miss it!) and for our almost-final collab activity, we round tabled the super-short super/surreal short stories we submitted, paired them and culled out a fave line from each and finally added a created-on-the-spot line to create our own new works. Found poetry, sort of. We kept reading them aloud after each story pairing and so we got to build together as well as construct our own pieces. It's funny how the same line or phrase would wriggle into the group pieces--one of Pious Gone's lines is one such utterance: "There was nothing left to smother." Good words strung together, yes? And so I offer you the piece I built out of everyone's work, unedited (though I would now lose some of it to pretty it up were I not being true to the moment). A quick note: the first two lines were pulled from published pieces we looked at to open tonight's session.
I put on a dress made of bones
the light has no further need of prisms to break it up into rainbows.
He answered box and egg and oyster and eye and poppy--
add 1/2 cup of a shredded & slim map of Vietnam, stringing
together thefted pearls from that pop-eyed oyster.
Please, please tell me what it's like--
there is nothing left to smother. Chewing spitting
chewing dying breathing chewing falling in love--isn't it all
the same thing? The writing that matters is in the dust.
Asleep, unfold, insert scatter patterns
dizzy roses spit their thorns at the rifle blue sky,
and reading the leaves we see slipping
bare feet slapping the street,
branches broken into math and dust.
Chartreusely speaking, the dark notes
of flamenco mornings become YES, and
salted muppets are delicious but you can
snack on Sesame Street hairballs.