Russ Woods

I AM A POLITICIAN OF LIGHT

and I know that our parts can fit together in a
certain frantic way.  700 million years ago there
were no eyes.  This whole light dimension of seeing
and being seen of me seeing you and you seeing me
was exactly null. The woman who wrote the book I
am reading says fucking doesn’t affect anything. I
am primarily talking about fucking here, just to be
clear. I think our species is founded on original
doubt. There is no mystery to fucking. This is the
beginning of the poem.

I want my last meal to be a live bear. I want him to
be delivered to me on a platter that is comically
small, and I want to go up to him and try to take a
bite and just get mauled to shit. In the best case
scenario I would walk up, pretend to shake his
hand, and he would lay down and I would settle in
and he would let me start gnawing his leg. But just
for a minute. I would even get through the fur get a
solid chunk of his meat get to taste what living bear
flesh tastes like before his enormous paw comes
down crushing my skull. What a saint, that bear.
This is the poem’s middle.

This morning I did not receive a phone call. There
had not been an accident. My father had not died. I
was not asked if I had a black suit and I did not say
I did not.

My best friend is dead. He calls me all the time.

This is one of those poems that you see in a literary
magazine and you skip because there are too many
words. Don’t worry, I do it too. It’s okay. I am now
talking to the people who did not read this poem.
People who did not read this poem: I want you to go
outside the building you’re currently in. I want you
to smoke a cigarette. If you do not have a cigarette,
I want you to go buy a pack and smoke one. I want
you to then keep smoking them whenever you have
free time. I want you to become addicted to
cigarettes so you become a little more like me
because I am addicted to cigarettes. I want you to
curl your fingers around each new one like they are
these tiny miracles, to feel sad about each one you
throw out your car window. Not for the
environment. Not for the environment. But for the
sadness that comes with seeing that tiny miracle
disappear. This addiction is something you can
treasure and I feel a little less bad about
encouraging you in this direction because you are
the people who did not read my poem. This is
almost the end of the poem.

I made a facebook status update that said I wanted
to drive my car into the south fork of the chicago
river and jump out at the last minute. Or maybe
even not jump out. I was in a bad mood. They call
that part of the river bubbly creek because there are
rotting pieces of dead animals from the stockyards
of the industrial revolution still decaying, releasing
gas that makes the water bubble. Three days later I
read on the news that they found a car in the south
fork of the chicago river. There was a body inside.
Part of me was afraid afraid that the police would
call up my wife and start calling her ma’am and tell
her the body was mine.

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