Friday, April 06, 2007

6. Mouth

Lacking opposable thumbs, many mammals use their mouth as a third hand.
You and I own such improved thumbs
but still grab at the world with our mouth, gourmet, orator, lover,
and so the mouth must stand for greed.

Not only for truffle, puffer fish and wine,
but also rice, maize, barley, corn, peanuts, cocoa beans, tea leaves, sunflower seeds
on commodity markets,
and perishables like pineapples, dragonfruit, raspberries and mangos;

not only edible things, but also what’s inedible:
rubber and cotton from plants, dyes and shells from the sea,
from animals mink, pelt, skin, spines, hair, blubber, feathers,
and teeth, the long, beautiful teeth of the Indian and the African elephants;

not only the living, survivors and victors of natural selection,
but from those long dead and long gone underground,
their forms compressed and thus transformed,
oil and gas;

not only life but also what has never lived:
diamonds;
not only in lodes of rock but also in air galvanized by lightning;
not only natural but also synthetic like plastic and alloys;

not only material, as if we are bodies without heads,
but also methods
to protect our bodies—
vaccination, five-day week, reading, public housing, democracy—

and methods to attack the same bodies through war and worship
of a disembodied god
who is seen only in the visible world,
who is heard in a bomb blast, screams and sirens, and then the dreadful silence afterwards.

Enough, enough.
I’m descending into demagoguery, the greed for inflammatory words.
Some things should not be swallowed. Like your cum
tasting of milkfish, watermelon and explosives.


Plan for this poem-in-progress

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