George Kalamaras
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The Common Eating


Among those who influence heredity, I might distain a system of self-pity.
It gets us nowhere. Just consider the stance of the lamp.

It has been strange to be so confused by kerosene.
Once, I lived as a termitary visiting Congolese villages like Pakori.

If a child were to hand me a real chicken, how might I explain the toxins released in eaten flesh?
If she were to look at me with the depth of centuries, how could I not resemble her mouth?

I have expected my wrist to inform me of your slightest ache.
Yes, more than our words travel through the common eating, through a commotion of radio sequence.

Whether I wake in a train or in the moon’s lambs, I am aware of at least a thousand manuscript fees.
No, I do not talk of money, especially when you are quiet.

Please, if you see Kinoshita on the other side, ask him to fold his umbrella.
Tell him that, though full of sea water from the Chukchi bride, I have discovered a certain healing strain of rain.


Not Just What We Say But How Our Mouths


Yes, we must be responsible for what we say.
I write the word lovely and mean, feed me the figs.

We need not responsible the thrush rugged through the throat.
I inscribe in your cheek, forgive me this stick.

Thorax swells responsible for what we refuse to say.
I carve into my parts, I cannot stop the leeching.

Lie on the grass mat of what we know as speech particles of gorgeous geisha love.
Let me place upon your back the hot cups, upside down, that will remove your weeping.

Yes, we must be responsible for all manner of things—for what we say, for what we bleed,
       for the burning cup-scorched mouths leaving Saturn turn residue where might a star.
I write the words, illicit desire, inside my own private scar and mean, lie naked on your belly,
       let me stroke your length lovely with peacock down, your breasts pressed flat against the mat.


Here is Where Our Mechanical Formulae Break Down


This unnatural combat between a box of beetles and bits of chopped meat.
Toss a butterfly into the air, and it is but the first flower.

As for the piece of meat, nature is not wasteful, even with childhood.
According to the casual thinker, we might decipher the civet cat from the trail of perfume.

Carefully, we discard the trench lip of victory.
We consider revealing our moss.

The formulae available cannot account for what is broken.
Kiss my tender and my almost, so that we can become a famous sculpture.

Cob-webbed to burlapped, there is a still munch of bamboo.
Beautiful gray thing becoming more gray, even more of a thing, come to my vaporous
       water lily world so that we might exchange paintings of pandas.

We were hermits by nature.
We made love with what we did not want to reveal.

We watched the huge fires with regret.
I had forgotten I could step in with a flurry of childhurt flowers, even in winter.

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