Autobiographia Literaria

Carl Sagan calls it starstuff

I call it fingered impressions into skin–
I am a little bit of everything

not just my father, dark marble
unbreakable me
or my mother
we have the same
Polish nose, lips, laugh
Sorry mom, but I am the bay
at the bottom of your
magmatic steep (you’re a little too
volcanic for me)

I crave blueberry doughnuts,
 pools in thunderstorms
Who gave me these?
Was it you who made me
horrific, “desensitized”
for thirty-years-past,
mostly Italian, blood (Oh, Argento!)

the stars still keep
me sweet, keep a smile
you can pour over pancakes
just give it a try
try to imagine you
without your surroundings
without your setting:
St. Augustine
you’ve made me lax
I move
I think
like your lapping bay
like your heavy summer air

Setting: Michiana
I can take the girl
out of the cornfield
I can try,
rip cornstalks out of the girl,
roots from ribcages
you can replant them anywhere
but there’s nothing that
can be done
with Midwestern charm

Don’t thank me,
thank Lake Effect snow
gifted from Lake Michigan
itself, thank the flatland
consuming miles
that brown mass paired
tastefully with months
of gray skies
there’s hundreds of farmers
killing themselves over these colors
every year
these colors are all mine


I am not a farmer
but some days I wonder
if this loam isn’t meant for more
than seeds and scraping hands

plant my feet,
my scarred ankle and arms
every ribboned curl on my head
take my densest tears

I push them into soil, deep
refuse to nourish them,
how are they still sprouting
What fuels them
and what fuels me
what is my profession?
I am not an academic
I am more than a shaper of sentences
I am a preserver
give me your words
I can jar them, boil them, seal tight,
as I turn mere letters into
burnt lime oceans,
I am a magician

and you are my gypsy man
juggling and predicting shades
of the graying sky
and you’re saying
this is just the way it is
and you’re saying
I can’t tell you
you won’t understand

but you can tell me
because who really knows
about anything

You can tell me stars
are marshmallow fluff
aliens built today’s technology
and I will not laugh
I’m not an encyclopedia
and maybe an encyclopedia
isn’t even an encyclopedia
but maybe you

why I keep coming back
to you
for answers,
coming back to soak up
every yellow and red particle
emitting from you.

I want to explore
pages inside your hands
and read knowledge formed
from the golden forest
in your eyes.

So tell me seagulls are bagels
I will listen, honestly,
because your guess is as good
or better
than mine and right now
I’m guessing
you and I are going to be
sitting under blankets together
until we figure out just what
all this is all about

And even when we don’t
figure it out
at least I know you
will move the orange juice
to the front of the fridge
after you drink from the carton
and I know this
because there’s never a glass
in the sink and the dishwasher
is full (or clean)

and at least you will know
this doesn’t bother me,
observing your shiny spectres
shuffle around me when
you’re away,
the channel turned to HLN,
the shower curtain left open,
I need to feel these movements


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