From “Strip Bismarck”

The pit sings using the marionettes within, a depth so chasmal nothing echoes, picks sparking against an absence of light too vast to be reduced, sweat crammed through competing atmospheres, scaturient urines blended in one breath, earth sodden nectariferous with piss-breaks, gravity made humid, lungs switched black over a life’s craftwork, miners burping legibly, grown sidelong inside themselves, space forking pressurized between their ears, the facsimile of human inclusion a job allots, copper incarnate, this country’s berceuse cored scarlet. Nonesuch a moiler happens on my hat, some wrecked sediment haloed below headlamps. Fustilugs topside see more time bomb than man. He’s almost finished ticking. A clock’s progress should be grounds enough for murder. Here’s the next crevice to migrate to from my cesspool. Born on a torn clit, dirt digested by the foot’s character, a bottom property soon accrued, cavities molting, every portion palmed in filth, precariously explored, grasping travelers, I exit the earth’s chute fangs first. An entity alien to itself bloodying calendars to eat, cinching where the question of quality meets air, sped entire under tire-striped thoroughfares, smoking gravel before motors set sail, esophageal wean the weight of plasma, ponying trams scatter their track, living smithereens, motion with persona, coal brought to climax. Stripped like prey strung above a skyline, he shall pace, meal number one, steak as theatre, occasionally freed of the hand that operates him, only to plead with its reach in vain. I pull the man out of my hat and present him to him, spleen and all, puppetry with lard, bootleg sentience hushed behind runoff. My agent of an excised Eden can pretend in shifts that the bible isn’t a wild plagiarism concocted after several benders. Shaman, priest, nor doctor may stop me getting spotted by another circulation.

Sentinel species will splatter the lamp, guttering us at once into a knowledge coerced universal, knowledge that only moves forward through a pinhole, turbid evacuations sifted of nutrition, collapsing you through myriad remains that seem fresh because they were just recently viscera, the apple’s connective tissue cubed, intellect as industry, the individual dimmed by apparatus, devil’s reprisal for becoming a supplanted, secondary defecation of the monkey’s maker. Colonies wielding crude tools hollowed these lakes out centuries ago for talismans covered with my spit, but now the mitten state’s metallurgy molds instinct into location, a rather bulkily caverned genital. Steam-powered camshafts blasting in the mill stamp amalgams of mercury. Coarse ore crushed to mortar, gangly sprat washes through the vanner room, the cleanup retorted and distilled from plates. The lie of a corner smoothed over, one way to make sculpture fade, brainwaves cured of chemical anachronism. Harassed before the sun takes seed, recruited from twin gauntlets, the Pinkerton-guarded property’s been barred in a circle. Between them and unions, my exorcism victim is falsely accused either of sedition or compliance about his indentureship. Western federations, beckoned off three buck workdays, accorded as sales rise or slump, clamor over being fired for trying to collect a paycheck. Scrape together enough to stay drunk and who cares. The rest waste potential for murder on its oldest, most boring source: politics. This idiot will string cities at the end of my thumb, maps smudged before they’re minted. Soon the land shall crap its last secret. Nature’s leeches wade through her menses. I, however, shall geld the globe, offer the stars hysterectomies, and forge compost consortiums from that exudation.

Firework in ice detonating where the sky suggests its moon was born right to bits and swollen whole again on the crutch clouds administer…light’s ambit rejuvenates at cost and is spent half blank. What tide oiled over a magnet, which egg chalked home free from burden, will act as palliative? Where, before the sneeze released us, did I lose my intruder, sifting through the magician’s image easy as a gob of mucus? No memories emerge, just a single moment ingeminating till I’m sicked upon the next. One followspot after another smokes me out of myself. I shift like a thousand imps posing a mannequin.

No land will be willed my kin. They are stock quartered under company contract. My wife wends them suitably quaffed in their pram. She looks better than plain. I never demand her respect. No such vanities take place. Let a man alone to perform the task at hand and he will bring you his last bit of cartilage tied in a bow.

A good couple should look, at least, like they were drawn by the same artist, related by brushstroke, joint genes sensibly spread. I’ll love my wife till the aphasia of age plucks us both craggy, but the beast who possessed me seems to have scratched a sleeve along her cornea. Every family’s threaded through just enough to stay together. Never indulging abuse through the use of spirits, she’s convinced I’ve fallen victim to trends against temperance.

Demented lies you told me…threats against our child’s chastity.

I press a bible into her grip and explain what made me its conduit. Not the stress of anything that maintains us, but a medical anomaly, now passed and safe behind reason. A tincture first thing tomorrow on my walk to the pit.

Sean Kilpatrick’s writing is published or forthcoming in Boston Review, Bomb, Vice, LIT, NERVE, New York Tyrant, sleepingfish, Diagram, and evergreen review.

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