e r i n    j    m u l l i k i n

 

 

WITH EACH NEW BEGINNING: DISTRESS SIGNALS


COLOSSAL WORLD









































WITH EACH NEW BEGINNING: DISTRESS SIGNALS

 

Before I begin to say what will be the thing that will be the first
thing you hear today, let it be known: we are all in distress.
We are all terribly afraid of getting lost, and we are making maps
of the woodlands, which are so unknown to us that by now,
after decades of being in the cities, we have forgotten the difference
between a fig and a fir. We are sure to get lost in the woods.
I, right now, feel the need to signal how distressed we are, how unbrave.
As I stand here, before I say the aforementioned thing to you,
I must account for the incredible sickness of how we mix it all up
and how we give it the wholesale name: life. And in doing so, I find
a kind of brave blood in naming the name of the named,
and, here you go now: this is the first time I will ever say this to you:
time is cardinal. And where I've just said time, read blood. No, read velvet,
the mistakes of velvet. Or maybe it is cardinal, this mistaking velvet for skin
or for time spent in comfort. For skin is not comfortable. Neither is velvet.
But take a cardinal: all red until you get to the mouth, the part of it that takes things in.
No, take man instead: the part of us that takes things out.

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COLOSSAL WORLD

 

We want to be
in a colossal world,

but we are already there.
All inside us

there are buildings
& lights pulled by horses,

metallic sounds like iron
filings pelting a window,

a great humming
we know to be our bones.

There are bodies of water,
salt & blood.

Some of these are on fire.
When we were small,

the burnings frightened us.
We are grown-up now,

quite fond of eradication,
& accustomed.

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ERIN J MULLIKIN is the author of the chapbook, Strategies for the Bromidic (dancing girl press), and her poems, short fiction, and book reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in magazines such as Ampersand Review, elsewhere, Coldfront, BlazeVOX, Tammy, Spork, and inter|rupture. She is the editor-in-chief for Salt Hill Journal and a founding editor for the online poetry journal, NightBlock, and the small literary press, Midnight City Books.


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