ROBERT SIEK

 
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Acclimated and Addicted to
Anaphylactic Shock 

We are all chatter, and my penis slipped out my underwear.
I think, I’m never going back again, want to suggest
a night of karaoke, singing “Nothing Compares 2 U,”
the Sinead O’Connor cover, eyes locked all Live or Die—
a staring contest—hunting knives held flat by thick thighs.
Take a quick break to discuss possible cases of brain cancer
thanks to electromagnetic radiation, Bluetooth earbuds by Apple.
Let’s pretend we are Twitter feeds, shout, “Guess what I’m thinking!”
I know I’m not the president. A British gay porn star in socks showing
boner. Poets praising other poets. A digital waterfall powered by bad
Wi-Fi, letters in words come in and out of focus, dropped colors
on a Candy Crush screen. I’m still playing it in public
because sometimes it’s a breathing technique
without counting, my handheld stop sign
I dance with at intersections.
And that app game Granny made me
jump every time she killed me; it only took
a week to delete it from my iPhone. But I still like
horror movies and Anne Sexton’s poetry, late evenings
pretending we survived a nuclear holocaust, buried beneath
dirty fleece blankets in our creepy-as-hell basement,
what the guy from the gas company called it,
when you showed him where the meters are.
Moths flew past, visible in sunlight from
the few windows. A black kitten leaped
from behind a box, catching a rat in failed
attempt to run by unnoticed. You heard its squeals
even from the top of the staircase. And now we are quiet.
Noise canceling headphones and a night trapped inside
a disposed-of refrigerator your neighbor forgot to take
the door off of. I’ve lost feeling in my left foot
and can’t tell if I’m peeing. Someone tell me
how to live my life in the next round
of tweets I can imagine
when hardly breathing.

 

It May Eat Me, and I’m Okay with That 

If the red on a fire engine spread, killer kudzu color
covering numbers, white bars, reflective silver touches,
and hard edges saved for a baby’s building blocks
bloated in attempt to unbox from inside, like a gas leak
contained by a weak plastic bag, a quarter-moon face
breaks werewolf jawline the second human is gone,
howling naked on all fours atop that braided rug
someone else chose, and the windshield splits
into a pair of eyes, corn yellow but too saturated
on a thin cardboard Thanksgiving decoration
of a pilgrim holding a partially husked ear,
no sign of the stalk, the field, the people
who taught him how best to plant
the newfound source of food,
and this statue of the Jersey Devil
hung on display behind glass in Penn
Station is definitely red, like this is always
the color pictured for Satan, its stretched
bat wings raised from the back of shoulders,
like these were angel wings at some point but
this fucker cooked underground and turned more
reptilian, what doesn’t make sense, his kicked-out
goat legs, this little piggy is going to the market
chased by a mob of torch-carrying villagers,
but he’s smiling unlike myself in this lobby,
waiting on a late train out of Manhattan,
and maybe it’s a perfect day to visit
the Pine Barrens, the Devil’s birthplace
according to legend, maybe it’s time to doubt
civilization for the hundred thousandth time
since the moment first memories were formed,
run over rotted remains of tree trunks years and
years from standing, a vandalized cemetery
where drunk teenagers pushed over
the heaviest tombstones,
spray-painted evil in
easily recognized symbols,
the kind that should cause vomit
to rise to the back of your throat,
and this is where to sprint until
winded, red cheeked, scream,
“Take me! Take me!” if only
he were really flying above.

 

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Robert Siek is the author of the poetry collections Purpose and Devil Piss (2013) and We Go Seasonal (2018), both published by Sibling Rivalry Press. He lives in Brooklyn and works at a large publishing house in Manhattan.