Corey Zeller

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A DREAM LIKE A PLAID SHIRT THAT TAKES FOREVER TO FALL TO THE FLOOR

Is still just a dream. My chest cavity is a window of plaid. I unbutton it. I am standing in the room I died in. The wall here is made of plaid, the body in the bed too. What pushes inside me is not a heart. It is a hummingbird with tartan wings, a beak as thin and sore as a child’s broken arm. It is whatever you cannot imagine the air can do, a choice between all the air in the world and none at all.

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HE SAID PLEASE MASTER I AM SO UGLY I SEE MYSELF IN THE FLOOR

This is part of a memory I am having. I couldn’t hear him over the sound of the microwave. Inside it: little things hummed in an orange tree, melting down to nothing, a heartthrob. The people in the room, in the memory, revolve on a transparent disk. The table before them is deflating. They’d be looking at me, in the corner, if they had faces left, eyes. What a person is has nothing to do with what they are. They are coating over a shell, spaces where they used to go.

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I WEAVED BACK AND FORTH LIKE A HAWK WITH SEVERED WINGS

We are standing in front of a cardboard background. It doesn’t matter what the background is, whether it is of buildings or the sea. It doesn’t matter because we are eating away the image that matters the most. This could mean us, our figures, our nonchalant posing, but it doesn’t. We are a daydream a newspaper is having, wet lambs glowing inside a dead TV, initials carved in the Maplewood sky. The fire escapes talk in tongues all around us. They sound like ancient rabbis, witch doctors, a gypsy pounding on the belly of a string-less guitar. The shadows of the leaves look like minnows bonded to the branches. They are trying hard to break away. We know there’s no way out.

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IN THE SHADOWS OF THE CHARRED TABLE I DANCED ONCE TO THE PISTOLS

The living you provides discord, a diluted harmony. It spoils, myth-like, forgetting the store bought paintings that hung in its childhood home. The living you doesn’t give a shit about words like postmodern and feels nothing about helplessness. It is nothing but equipment, third world fodder, nothing but you and your mouthful of pills, your ill-fitting sameness. The river beyond the living you, the visible you, is a corpse. I like to watch you swim in its whiteness. It is almost like I am watching you, almost like you are there.

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LIKE STROKES OF AN OAR AT A RIVER WHERE NONE HAVE BEEN SEEN BEFORE

I am falling through each floor of the downtown AA center like a ghost’s idea of a ghost, sheets and two human holes with eyes inside it. I taste the nothing that lives there, feel it in the needles and blossoms of my chest. I dream of grass stains and lucky hats, Mars colors and disguised offerings, voids and directions. In the room where we just met, I see a man trapped in a bottle like a model ship. He says we are the only ones who can see the bottle. He says we are not falling. He says everything else is falling up.

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I KNOW THE RICH ARE THE ONLY ONES THAT HAD ANY GOOD OLD DAYS

If it is said it is a manipulation, grace in the crosshairs, a life beyond safety. You are present for it and therefore an echo, a disability, a heavy shimmering of danger. Whatever you do, don’t touch it, don’t hear it. What is uttered will take you. What you utter is what is left of you to take. Sorrows feed like the sparrows and the sparrows feed like the days. The days do their job. They take the world apart.

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