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Whatnots by
Kyle Hemmings
Illumination by Peter Knoll
'artificial respiration'  2008 Peter Schwartz
'artificial respiration' by Peter Schwartz

Waking Up the Dead

Nighttime, I sneak into the morgue, pinch the dead. Listen to the bones crackle, creak, the grind against Rigor Mortis. They say, "Come here, boy, listen to this one." Or sing songs of wandering Berbers. I am flushed with their secrets, bone betraying the source of marrow. Like what will trigger a plutonium war. Or how the Visigoths sacked Detroit. Another cries how she once eluded jellyfish, stingrays in a Sargasso Sea of lip-synching undertow. Still another, fluttering her eyelashes, lists the secrets of Saladin's wives,

How the fingers dipped into jasmine oil, lingered on a smooth slope of neck, seduced men into a Mecca of gauze and labyrinths. "Love's slaves, dare I say," she says, "to drink In the daylight & put down the pale horse among the living." Their sheeted voices stir & wheeze, remind me of the cross-world winds off Costa Rica, the tipping over of jib-headed sailboats, old spice routes returning to the vapor of Salome's shadow dance.

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last update: February 29, 2008