Jim Redmond received his MFA from the University of Michigan. He lived in
Michigan his whole life, but has since moved from Detroit to Austin, Texas in U.S.A.
His work has been published or is forthcoming in Blackbird, BOAAT, PANK,
Redivider, and inter|rupture, among others. His chapbook, Shirts or Skins, won a
chapbook prize by Heavy Feather Review.
Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear
I pay a man five dollars to clean my car with his spit.
He keeps calling me boss.
I keep calling him boss.
We've agreed on distrust as the best option.
We watch each other work over our shoulders:
He is the crankshaft of a cotton gin; I'm a sucking sound
like a drowned vacuum.
His body is an arrow he shot through the world and back
into his bended knee;
mine is the trapdoor of memory:
the trapdoor spider
too fat to fit out.
The legitimate danger in this scenario has
something to do with deciphering the difference
in the other's God-shaped hole;
almost fitting that space before self-awareness,
the regularly scheduled program, interrupts us again.
The commercial says: I'm not a human doing,
I'm not a human thinking, I'm a human being.
In the commercial the man is washing my car too,
but now it's my turn. There's a disclaimer:
You missed a spot he says, handing me his face.
Burdens of Proof
Here is a list of people claiming to be Jesus in some radicalized form or another (these are the Jesuses we really need to worry about).
These are all the police reports involving LSD and the theft of home insulation from the last 15 years.
This is a symbol for religious impunity. It's usually found somewhere on or near the male genitalia.
Notice the symmetry, notice the three letters above and the numerical placement beneath.
These are the known unknowns. We know them best.
First: Construct concept of identity. Construct concept of them for purposes of constructing concept of us. Construct concept of threat.
Second: Develop method of identification and framework for guilt.
Third: Identify criteria for culpability / threat. Identify individual. Identify individual within context of culpability / threat.
Fourth: Eliminate individual. Never under any circumstances are you to eliminate the concept / presence / possibility of threat ...
This is (inaudible). You find him and (again, inaudible, light clicking sound, a sort of sterilization that leaks into the mind's low and fluorescent lighting).
Know that when no water is readily available, they are permitted to perform ablution by sand. Know that all things are permissible to you in pursuit of them.
This is what an act of terrorism looks like and this is what it doesn't.
This is threat level alpha. This is threat level omega. It comes in red, orange, and occasionally code midnight.
This is a receipt from Walgreens for Drano signed for by one of the face cards somewhere in Reno.
This is a religious tract fished out from one of their trailers enumerating the signs and the wonders, where it is mostly illegible, but under further forensic analysis reveals the message: "I've aligned myself with a certain awareness of the desert." We've already brought this awareness in for questioning.
Here is some surveillance of three men exchanging a sequence of security codes via a crossword puzzle found in the July 14, 2008 print of the New York Times. We've reason to believe one of these men is you.
To kill time.
I was drawing you draw from a window that didn't make sense.
It was a kind of paint by numbers where some things I can only imagine make sense if you can only imagine them, otherwise, what's real is too real.
Instead of a stock room.
I was counting your teeth like a drunk shepherd.
I was selling home entertainment systems to the enemy.
I kept coming back, out of a clown car.
I said, no man is a kiosk, no matter how many hair extensions.
I said, read me a poem you have to read in the dark.
For old times' sake.
I can see from inside the poem, but can't find a way out.
Sometimes a border, sometimes a drone.
A failed metaphor keeps failing, so far, into the future.
All questions are old questions, aren't they?
All the answers. The moon says the moon.
The night used to ask something more of us.
If you would have asked me to leave with you then, I would have said, yes.
All the tender gluttons in all the world choked full with packing peanuts.
All the memory foam losing its memory.
Add 30 Seconds
You understood the sublime
and that was about it;
kept chewing the Punnett squares,
tried to blow bubbles.
Turning to each tin Eiffel Tower,
you asked, are you my real dad?
The obsolescence replacing
the sadness slot in the Lovheim Cube
was lit like a blue movie that year.
Something vaguely European meant
somehow special to you.
The sudden warmth of a high five.
The size and efficacy
you felt: in the back of the Burlington Coat Factory
trying things off.
Your truant circumference
dilated, didn't bounce back.
You wished it came in more than one color.
Goodbye was good like that.
What was it your mother used to say again?
Something something meth addled.
That all your landmarks were 24/7, sold liquor.
Lifted from takeout menus.
But this was the epiphany lately:
If it doesn't mean anything,
it should at least glow in the dark.
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