TOO BEAUTIFUL A DAY TO DIE
After Albert Camus
Sometimes it’s 12:37 and you press the dark
to your eyelids. Crush your knees into your
chest. You honor the hour’s invitation, spec-
ulative fingers strumming diffidence like you
don’t know better. Someone has to make the
music. The body resists annihilation. Have you
ever seen a chicken decapitated? Crossed the
Potomac on the Nice Memorial Bridge with-
out both hands knuckle white until Maryland?
4:30 indecision is study & practice. Or, you tell
the Suicide Line attendant you just want to talk.
Claim no one and let him offer: 911, your Job,
Church, the Kids. Even your Paycheck. So where
is this call center located? Do you prefer white? Or wheat?
In the not-so-South South this October Sunday
you stall: my body is breaking and needs epoxy.
You confide human hands fail their grip. That
you also tried to shrink. And expand. With dis-
appointing results. Both tasted like expedience &
moss; burned the tongue with sun. Which is to
wonder how rainy days earn such a bad rap. It’s
too beautiful a day to die. A different 4:30 and
more than many pills divvied over hours have
made your waste black, headaches they’re supposed
to extinguish and you’re satisfied: control. Upstairs
bathroom assimilates all of it: confessional & storage.
5:43 you retreat into his insistence Good morning to you
too. Frost is regalia over the city. Y’all quickly make
something you will record as love while he’s at work.
Collect its ashes, gargle & discard in the sink. He’s
watching yet you dare scan your eyes for sun.
What if you don’t want to die alone but want to live that way?
What if you cover every wall with wet sand, scraping and sculpting
the terrain of what, in seventh grade, you said would be today?
You woke up twenty years later three inches thinner around,
nowhere near as certain, eating pineapple on a porch in Costa Rica.
What you do know is that what the women said about you is true:
you are a cavernous hollow in whom no man can find his rightful end.
And who doesn’t want to end somehow? To plant a flag, surrender
and wilt into rest? What do you do when humans disappoint you to grey,
separate your front teeth like a vice and flatten the crease of your elbow
like contraband hugs? Do you scroll your contact list, call them all traitors
for demanding your courage? What is the 1:17a.m.ish invocation of lemon
water—didn’t you know it was a diuretic? The terrible and sweats melt you
into sleep. Dreams burn a trail through your sinuses or swell into fibrosis
on your organs like ritual scarification. The zealous machine of flesh
introduces us new beings every seven days yet we see no trace
of molting in the mirror. It gathers on the furniture, in the doorjambs,
along the chair rail in unchallenged collections of dust. So let’s say you disrupted
it with furniture polish. Let’s say you told the past to go fuck itself. That you didn’t
second guess the wisdom of marrow or the brush stroke of your eyelids
muting your pressure. And just slept.
TRY YEARS OF TODAYS LIKE TODAY, AND
This is your brain.
This is your brain in relief.
A yellow plastic excuse
fences the gallery
of every other skirmish
Here you are a Pollock
on the wall facing
the street forward window.
Evaporated to a single line
of salt from the eye that remains.
Here is how life leaves us.
Through the impossibly
brash hiss of whisper. Here,
your brain. This is your brain
in relief. Any questions?
YOU THOUGHT THAT YEARS WERE CHEAT SHEETS
Look, here it is: no one is interested so play it as you will. I never smiled. Then I smiled until
my cheeks fixed themselves into a permanent cruel curl & needed no pins, no joke no joy.
I never laughed either. Then I laughed like I meant it; until my sides ached. My shoulders bounced
like glee was any cheaper, and after all it wasn’t. It costs. I put on a whole show. Made my face up
so thick every feature I had could be viewed for miles, and I didn’t wash it off. Nope. Slept on
my back. With two pillows. Coated my teeth with Vaseline. There was no applause or sash waiting
for me centerstage. Cold archives in a museum of a life; wax covered in dust—the powder of dead skin rehearsing living.